Our scripture from Mark 1:40-45 tells us that moved with pity, Jesus healed a leper and then sternly warned him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
But then the man goes out and proclaims it freely. Why do you think he did that?
Well, my guess is that he probably had every good intention. I mean wow, this Jesus had just healed him. Surely everyone should know about him – then more healings could happen – then more people would know who he really is . . . There would be less suffering in the world!
His motivations were noble enough but instead of TRUSTING what Jesus had told him and openly seeking God’s will, the man actually counters it, thinking that all the while he is serving the Lord. Given all his good intentions, how could it be otherwise?
Of course the ultimate reality was quite different, and from then on Jesus could no longer go into the towns openly – and the people had to come out to him as they could.
How often do we, with the best of intentions, likewise break our savior’s heart with assumptive declarations and actions that cut across the grain of God’s most perfect will.
One is reminded of Judas — who many theologians believe actually didn’t act so much for the silver shekels as he did in the hope that if he forced Jesus’ hand that he would then have no other choice but to act and bring about a new world order in some political, worldly way.
But of course things didn’t quite turn out as Judas thought they would, and when he saw the end result he took his own life – which in the end was perhaps his greatest sin – not believing that Jesus would forgive his short-sighted treachery.
Here’s a simple truth for a very complex world: We cannot make ANY assumptions about how God might work through events to bring about His greater purposes for the future – NONE. Because God can use anything in this world – and does – to effect His Perfect Will. We need to learn to trust that.
Sure, there are some “safe assumptions” out there and as rational, thinking human beings we need to trust those. You may well assume that Uncle Sam will want your tax dollars in April and that the rains that fall in that same month will bring May flowers. You may assume that 50 year old men like me with very bad knees are not capable of dunking a basketball . . . And you may even chose to assume that the Hokies will beat the stuffing out of my beloved Wahoos in football next year. (They seem to have that down pretty well.)
But when it comes to what others may or may not do and the motivations that drive them . . . Well, assume very little. Because you really don’t know – and in the end, the respect and benefit you give them by making no assumptions, often allows the kind of mutual trust and freedom by which God’s perfect will is made manifest.
And when it comes to God – make no assumptions. Do your part. Live your life in accordance with His Holy Word – adding nothing to it. Taking nothing away. Trusting it with all your heart and soul for the living, breathing, miracle working (yet all the while simple) power it has to transform you into His New Creation.
Jesus has promised that the Spirit will come . . . And he does.
In the end there is, perhaps, only one “safe assumption” and that is that God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit knows what’s best and will never give up on you . . . He will Love you until (as we say in my neck of the woods quite literally) the cows come home – until we have all come home – and found our perfect peace in Him.
Stuart Revercomb is the pastor at Peace Presbyterian Church in Roanoke County. Visit them on the web at