For the past four weeks we’ve been dealing with sickness in our household. The first week it was a vicious stomach bug. Actually, the rest of the family got it two weeks before, but I came down with it the week before last. Last week, Junior had a 24 hour stomach bug, probably from my issues the week before. The following day, I came down with what I thought was the same thing, but I was absolutely wrong. It was the most miserable 3 days of my life in the past few years. I think it’s especially worse when you rarely get sick. But because I already had a low immune system, and I failed at boosting it, I caught the crud. The tonsillitis crud. Well, at least according to the way I felt, medical books, and WebMD. And then this week, Jr has pink eye and an ear infection. Joy.
We finally went to the doctor to get “the good stuff”.
At one point, while laying on my back during my sickness, staring at the ceiling, my mind took me back to the last church service we attended. I couldn’t remember if it was the week before or more than two weeks. Time escaped me among the sickness. But in my head, something our Pastor said kept rolling around. He had mentioned briefly in his sermon about the man who was healed of blindness (John 9), and how weird it was that Jesus put mud on his eyes to heal him. He mentioned how awkward we would think it would be these days, if a man, especially Jesus, walked up to us and slapped mud on our eyes and told us to go bathe in a pool.
Why? What’s so special about this mud and that pool that could heal me? I’ve gotten mud in my eyes before. I’ve bathed in that pool my entire life. What now makes it worthy enough, or makes me worthy enough, to heal?
I’m not worthy.
I am not worthy of the love He gives me and yet each and every day, He loves me.
Even when I am the most unlovable, He loves me. When I project other people’s opinions onto myself as truths, He still loves me. When I mess up and say words that I shouldn’t, or react in ways that are emotionally inept…He still loves me. When I am nothing like Christ and everything like a sinner, He loves me.
But I can put that salve of mud over my eyes and bathe in that pool 10,000 times, and it still won’t take away my disability. The disability of feeling unworthy. The disability of feeling unhappy. The disability of feeling distracted, less than, selfish, petty, hopeless, hurt, angered, grieved, prideful, or whatever gaping hole I’m dealing with at the time. The disease of nothing, because half the time, we don’t know what’s wrong with us…we just know we’re unworthy, we’re empty, we’re lacking. We need something but we don’t want to admit that it’s Him. We’re ok on our own. We’re ok with our hurts and our egos, because admitting to them would be suicide to who we have become.
I could write 30,000 words in a book and still be living in a life bankrupt of love. I could make 300 inspiring and encouraging YouTube videos, and in the end I may still question, who am I? Because the likes don’t matter, the comments fade away into the night, and here you are, still looking at that gaping hole that stares you in the face, you’re unworthy. No person, hobby, thought, or good read will fix it…
I have to wonder if that’s what the man with the blindness felt like. Like he was stuck in a hole. Like he wasn’t good enough to be healed or given a “normal” life. And yet I have to remind myself that logically, he simply didn’t know any better, being born blind. Hello, logic.
Aren’t we all born blind, though? Isn’t there some kind of shade over our eyes since we’re born into a world of sin? But there’s a difference between having shaded eyesight, and rolling in a pool of blindness by choice. We get so distracted, we fill our time with people and things and feelings instead of the One who should have our attention first and foremost at the beginning of each day. We reach for our cellphones before we reach for the word of God. We don’t like what we see in ourselves so we try to make ourselves better, smarter, more beautiful, more “worth” it.
I am guilty as charged. This is me showing you I’m horrible, too. And then we wonder why it’s so shady, why we can’t see so clearly. Why there’s a hole….staring back at us….
I sat in quiet that night. Quiet and I seem to have conversations that are soul numbing and heart-aching. Quiet and I get really close, and quiet pulls out the depths of my heart and shows them to me. Replace quiet with Holy Spirit, and suddenly there’s conviction. Suddenly there is guilt and shame and disgust for who you are and what you’ve become.
But quiet didn’t leave me there.
…because then, He put mud on my eyes.
He made a little pile of mud and He slapped it right on there and He said, these are the depths of your heart, but I have come to give life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)
And suddenly, it’s not me who is worthy—but Him, the one who created the mud and slapped it on my face. Suddenly, the thief is gone, the disability and disease of blindness is gone, and my eyes can see. It’s not the mud. It’s not the bath. It’s not the illness. It’s the Creator. It’s the Creator of life, and the one who came to give it back to me. To you. To the blind man who went to bathe and came back with eyesight.
He is worthy, and I am in Him, and He calls me child, and therefore, He makes me worthy. I have worth. And I have a hole that has been filled with the mud of a healing Savior. And I know the depths of my heart and I’ve seen the ugly, and I can stare that ugly in the face and say, but I am worthy to hold on to, and you are not.
He holds onto me, but I cannot hold on to you, ugly.
And you admit it, and you accept it, and you toss it to the side and say, fill me, Lord.
And He will…and He does…and He says, what took you so long.
Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart. Often times, He will use the most inopportune and dramatic moments in your day to reveal your heart to you. That fight with your husband. That thing your friend said. The way you lost your cool with your kid. That keyboard ninja you became in the comments of a Facebook post. That passing emotion of anger or hurt.
Allow Him to search your heart, and even more, allow Him to show you the depths of it. Admit to it, own it, and look it right in the face and say, I am worthy of being held onto, but you are not. And it must go, and it must leave, and you must release it from your grip of “this is me”, because this isn’t you.
And then there is peace…and there is love…and there is worthiness…and there He is, with mud on His hands and a smile on His face. Because it’s not the mud and the pool, it’s the giver of life whose hands it drips from.