Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Jinx Factor

I’ve just come from another therapy session, and I am in shock! The biggest problem with my leg has been the extremely limited range of motion in my knee, and this latest therapy was intended to improve that. Today was the dreaded measuring day, to see if I have improved. I’d asked the therapist not to tell me any numbers, because so many times I have had my hopes up, then been disappointed. After she measured, she was bursting with excitement, and begged me to let her tell me. I finally gave in, and heard the wonderful news that I have gained nine degrees of extension in my knee!

Now, that may not sound too exciting to those of you who take straightening your leg for granted, but to me, it is nearly a miracle. I knew that things had improved because I've been walking more comfortably and have had less pain overall since starting the therapy. But I never imagined I would gain so much in such a short time, and with relatively little pain or effort on my part. Many have been praying as I’ve gone through this therapy, and I know that the Lord has heard their pleas on my behalf.

But I find myself only cautiously optimistic. Why am I not full of joy and excitement about this new development? Why am I responding to this answered prayer with such skepticism? Is it because I am not thankful for this improvement? I don’t think so. I am so very grateful for the Lord’s mercy and goodness to me in this way! I know that it is only by His grace that I am feeling better, and out of His love for me He has granted these prayers. So why do I hesitate to celebrate? Why can’t I just let go and do a full-on Praise the Lord and shout to the rooftops? I believe my problem is the Jinx Factor.
Some of you know what I am talking about. When something good happens after you’ve wanted it for a long time, you shouldn't get excited about it or tell too many people, because you might “jinx” it. Enjoying a positive development or sharing news that seems too good to be true may cause the happy circumstance to reverse itself. Of course, this is a silly superstition with no truth in reality at all, yet it seems to be affecting me today as I receive this news.

I have been a Christian for most of my adult life, yet this silly superstition still hangs on. As I pondered why this might be so, it occurred to me that there is another truth that I wholeheartedly believe, that definitely seems too good to be true: God sent His only son to die for my sins so that I could be with Him forever. There is absolutely nothing about me, no merit or goodness that would have caused Him to do that. It makes no sense. Yet, I believe it to the core of my soul. God has granted me faith to believe in His love, grace and mercy toward me. I honestly do not question it, even when I lose the battle against sin. There is no danger of jinxing this great news! I never hesitate to tell of the glory of my Savior, and the changes He has made in my heart. When I think on His attributes, peace and joy fill my soul and I know that nothing can ever take that from me.

So, what’s the difference between my response to the Gospel and my response to this latest good news? I believe the difference is that I am not applying my God-given faith to this God-given answer to prayer. Because it is circumstantial, I immediately apply a worldly response: “Don’t get too excited. It will probably go backward when you’re done with PT, as it has before. Maybe her measurements were off. It can’t be that much better. You’ll only be disappointed again if you get your hopes up.”

God saved me years ago in answer to my prayer, and probably the prayers of many others. Lately, I have prayed for this healing, as have many others. Answered prayer is answered prayer! Who am I to question God? When He says yes, He means yes (2 Corinthians 1:20), whether in the spiritual or physical realm. So I will enjoy this new development, and I will praise Him for this gift (James 1:17). If it doesn’t continue to improve, or goes backward, I will praise Him still, because that too will be a gift. My hope is in Christ, with whom there is no shadow of turning…and definitely no jinx factor!