Depression has surrounded me and the people I love my entire life. I won’t say the names, but I’ve heard the sighs. I know about the struggle for hope. I’ve felt the dullness myself. I’ve fought my own war against disappointment. I realize people who are depressed can’t just snap out of it or take more B vitamins for a cure. What if there is a cure, but we have just overlooked its benefits?
I read a story about a man who contracted a horrible contagious disease. When the news got out, no one wanted to be around him lest they catch his illness. First he lost his job and his healthcare benefits. Then his marriage suffered and even his kids stopped talking to him. He eventually ended up homeless living under a rock overhang with a crowd of outcasts like himself. His life was stripped down to survival mode and he could barely find enough to eat. After living a lonely and desperate existence for several years, he heard of a miracle worker. He and some of his rock mates decided to ask for healing.
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem,
he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.
As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance,
crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”
And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed,
came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!”
He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done.
This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men?
Where are the other nine?
Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”
And Jesus said to the man,
“Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
Jesus says He healed ten men so we know they all were healed, but Jesus seems to see some significance to the fact this man came back to thank Him. He says his faith has healed him. Could it be there was more to this man’s healing than mere physical relief from disease? Ann Voskamp thinks so. While the other nine men received relief from disease, she believes this grateful man might have received something more.
The original Greek word used here is Sozo which could mean healing, salvation or becoming whole. After reading this passage Voskamp came to the conclusion that giving thanks may promote more than physical healing. This concept compelled her to start writing down her blessings. One Thousand Gifts is a book she wrote about her journey. She has inspired thousands of people to write down their daily lists of gratitude. The Psalmist seems to agree.
Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his holy mountain,
for the Lord our God is holy.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
My husband and I were driving back from a relative’s house. It had not been a pleasant dinner. Everyone had been arguing and trying to persuade each other with their own points of view. It was a relief to get into the car and drive away from all the chaos and expectations. We began to talk about all the things we had to be thankful for and as we did this we forgot about the dismal dinner. As we drove, we experienced the most amazing display of color as the sun set over the wheat fields.
We marveled at the display even more when we realized we could be sitting in a darkened room with even darker conversation–a place with more pain than praise. Instead we were basking in the glorious presence of God. We know there is healing in God’s presence. Perhaps gratitude is the doorway into God’s presence.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
How is expressing your gratitude for God healing your heart?