The greatest miracles have great risk associated with them.
Peace family, last night I was watching the movie, Risen, and a scene in which Jesus heals a leper really resonated with me. The leper had been driven out of an area with beatings, curses, and spit, but Jesus pulled him close to his chest, and healed him. I thought about the ways that God asks us to be used for others’ healing
As 21st-century US citizens, we are pretty out of touch with contagious disease. We’ve never seen people suffering from leprosy, and the scariest diseases we hear about are contained abroad in hotter, more exotic climates. We fear cancer, but as far as we know, that’s not something that can be spread through contact.
We’re also out of touch with social stigmas. In a culture in which morality becomes more and more “relative,” we don’t feel shame, and even often brag about, relish in, or praise the things that we ought to be ashamed of.
When Jesus and his disciples prayed for lepers to be healed, there was a risk of catching the disease. When they prayed for the violent demoniacs, they risked being attacked and abused by the very people they were trying to help. When they reached out to tax collectors and prostitutes, they risked being social outcasts, religious outcasts, and treated with prejudice of all kinds. Their faith led almost every single disciple to be tortured and martyred.
In our culture, God doesn’t usually put people with fearsome, contagious physical ailments into our paths for ministry. However, there’s a good chance that He will ask us to love people who are like mental, spiritual, or emotional lepers: people with lifestyles, behaviors, and mentalities that are harmful, toxic, and even contagious in their unhealthiness. As we draw near to them out of Christ’s love, they can be healed, but we also can become damaged.
We must find our strength and power from Jesus, and keep going back to him for our own healing. Without complete dependence on Jesus, we will lose our perspective, lose our hearts, lose our compassion, and lose our own emotional healthiness (which can also impact our physical health). We can get swallowed up by unhealthy people and their problems, so we’ve got to tap in to Christ. We must make time to connect alone with God, to know what his word says, to pray, and to find additional help and support from healthy believers around us. We must trust God for our protection, and trust our wounds and brokenness to him. And we also must keep reaching out to those around us, even when there’s a risk that they will damage us. That’s when the miracles happen!
Peace family, are there “lepers” in your life? Let’s believe God for their healing today. It might not be immediate, but God is at work, even when we don’t see it. Let’s believe him for our own healing, too! There is nothing people can do to us that is more powerful than God’s love and healing for us. Not only is he tender and forgiving, but he is a God of miracles.