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Sunday, June 2, 2013

What Will it Take?



I was walking down Michigan Avenue, here in downtown Chicago, about a month ago on a Saturday. My eyes caught a homeless man who was sitting on the sidewalk in the biting cold, without any shoes on his feet. What’s worse is, one of his feet were bleeding very badly. In the cold, the blood had congealed, acting as an adhesive between his foot and the piece of cardboard under it. I began a conversation with this man to find out more. He explained he was homeless, poor, and had diabetes. All that would save him was a custom made pair of shoes. In utter pity, I asked the man to come to the church I attend, the next morning, where I guaranteed he would receive help to relieve his miserable condition. He said he needed money to come by bus, so I gave him some, bought him a cup of tea, and expected to see him the next morning. He did not show up. Later in the week, I spotted the same man hobbling across the same intersection, in great pain. He still had both his feet and all toes. I asked him why he did not make it to church. He answered with what seemed to be a lame excuse for a man who risked losing his foot if not treated. After one month, I saw the same man at another location off of Michigan Avenue, on the sidewalk again, moaning in pain and tears. The weather had turned warm now, but his feet were still bare, and they were still bleeding. This time, the large toe on one foot was gone. And yet the man sat there, asking for money, writhing in misery, instead of doing something about his condition. “What is wrong with him?” I asked a friend who was with me.
            Our discussion revealed that, apparently, it is normal for some homeless people to be deathly ill, and yet not desire to take action, but rather stay in the condition to garner the sympathy, and pittances, of passersby. This seems absurd, but proves to be true in the case of this particular man on Michigan Avenue. It’s not that he did not feel the pain of his foot bleeding. I’m sure he did. His problem was his failure to see his need to be treated. The only need he saw was the need for money, even at the expense of losing his foot – and one of his toes he did lose! He would rather sit and beg for money instead of coming to a church where he would receive help to get treatment.   

While the poor man sat on Michigan Avenue, blinded to his need for help and healing,  many more on Michigan Avenue are blind to their need for healing of another sort. Not to say that everyone I saw falls in to this category, but the people I’m talking about are those who live for the moment – trusting in riches, living for pleasure, carefree in relationships, snared by the great deal of materialism and consumerism being offered to them. Many of them are unaware that their lives – the soul and spirit which outlast the body – are in great need of healing. Like the man who lost his toe, many feel the pain, but refuse to be treated. They do not see their need to come to Jesus, and receive the healing only He can give. The masses on Michigan Avenue represent the majority of people in the United States and in other places of the world: those who keep seeing their misery, but are kept by pride, arrogance, and self-sufficiency from seeing their need for a Saviour who can rescue them from their misery. That such a malady of the human sould exists , is explicit in the Bible.    

About seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, lived the prophet Isaiah, in the land of Israel. When he was commissioned by God Himself to be a prophet to the nation of Israel, to go and tell them of their need to be healed, the voice of the Lord thundered to Isaiah and, “He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’” (Isaiah 6:9) Isaiah was to go a people who saw their suffering but failed to see their need for healing and for the Healer. Unless their eyes were opened to their need for healing, they ran the risk of losing everything one by one, until one day – they lost it all and it was too late to be healed. Historically, this happened to Israel. They lost it all successively to Babylon, to Medo-Persia, to Greece, and then to the tyranny of Rome.

What will it take for the man on Michigan Avenue to realize he needs healing? He’s lost a toe – will he have to lose a foot, his entire leg maybe, before he wakes up? What will it take for America to wake up to the need for healing? Homosexuality and abortion have become the norm, and the country is in almost irrecoverable debt. We’ve lost our sense of right and wrong, of good and evil. The moral compass of the nation has gone haywire. What will it take for the world to wake up to its need for Jesus? Will it take another World War? Will it take another dictator?
         If you’ve never received it, what will it take for you, my friend, to realize that you need healing in your soul? Will it take a great personal loss, health failure, your marriage going bad, a house being foreclosed? What will it take before you come to Jesus and say “Lord Jesus, I am in need of healing, and you are the only one who can heal my wounded spirit, and satisfy my soul, change my life, and grant me eternal life”?

Has all else failed you in life? Have all the gurus, prophets, and promise makers of the age and antiquity failed you? Have you realized your need for healing and the Healer? Come to Him today in humility. He will heal. He will restore. He will renew. He will give hope, and grant life. It takes your eyes being opened to your need, and He is ready to help.    

© Kenny Damara, 2014

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