“Jesus, will you heal me so I can get on with serving you?”
The answer is no. Not necessarily no to the healing—that remains to be seen—but no to the reason.
I was finishing my workout in the gym when Jesus showed me that my request was rooted in a lie: the lie that I’m not worth healing for my own sake. That I don’t matter. Or that I only matter insofar as I can be useful to other people.
People say that we’re blessed to be a blessing.
It’s not true.
We’re blessed simply because God loves us and delights to give good gifts to His children.
True, being loved like that will flow over into wanting to be a blessing to others. God’s kind of love is contagious.
True, part of the way God blesses us is in allowing His blessing to flow through us to others.
But making us a blessing is His promise and His work, work to which we surrender and with which we cooperate but not work we can do on our own (Gen 12:2-3; John 15:4-5). And the first part of that surrender is receiving. Freely. For ourselves. Enjoying His delight in us and delighting ourselves in Him.
Confession: I struggle with this.
I’m always tying strings to places God has marked “no strings attached.”
I hesitate to ask for help. And when I do, it’s with at least the unspoken promise that I’ll pay it back (or forward) as soon as I can.
But this kind of “grace on credit” is no grace at all. It’s exhausting. It’s salvation-by-works transferred from a cash-only society to one in which we build up debt we can never pay.
I’m not suggesting we ought to live as though the world revolves around us. It doesn’t.
I am suggesting that we do not need to be afraid to enjoy the good gifts God gives. The gifts he gives freely. For our enjoyment. Because He delights in us and delights to enjoy us enjoying His good gifts in His presence. (I Tim 6:17, James 1:17, Deut 14:22-27)
We can only truly love when we learn to let ourselves be loved.
Letting ourselves be loved—freely and extravagantly—is not selfish. It is an essential part of stepping into who we’re called to be.
“Jesus, let me not run from the love which you offer. . . “ (David Flemming)