So, leprosy isn’t often a coveted disease. Actually, I would venture to say that almost any disease would fall in the “Not Often Coveted” category.
However, the other day, I was talking to a friend, and we started listing the things in life that would be really awful to experience. I know that’s not really a fun “exercise” but I had been watching a show where a father and daughter had been mauled by a bear but survived. So, it got me thinking about all of the really unpleasant things I haven’t experienced that I would like to never have to experience … liiiiiike being mauled by a bear, for one!
Another item that made the list was being tied to a table and slowly driven to insanity as drops of water steadily fell on my forehead. Now, I don’t think many people have experienced this, but I’ve heard about this so-called Chinese Water Torture strategy used long ago. Whether it works or not, I’m not overly interested in experiencing it! :)
Then, I realized that leprosy would probably be even worse. It’s not as common today as it used to be, but I think it could still legitimately make the “Never Want to Experience” list. Having this infectious skin disease with leaky sores and nerve damage doesn’t sound appealing in the least. However, my friend made an interesting point after I eagerly added leprosy to my list. I thought it was pretty profound.
“Yes, leprosy would be pretty bad, but at least you would get to hang out with Jesus all day.”
Wow! I never thought of it that way. Those are some lucky lepers! I’m pretty sure that’s not a word combination many people have used before, but back in the day, Jesus hung out with all kinds of people that the rest of society shunned. In Matthew 8, Jesus heals a leprous man, and in Luke 17, Jesus heals 10 men with leprosy. Now, the Bible doesn’t say that they spent a lot of time chitchatting before the healing took place, and they really didn’t spend much time with him after the healing either.
However, I think the key element is that their disease drew them to His feet. Their infection and issue, which was so visible and so repulsive to everyone around them, became their key to wholeness. Oozing sores and numbness, lesions and open wounds that were extremely painful, were the exact thing those men needed to magnify their need for Jesus. Would they have come crawling to Him otherwise? Would they have cried out for Him to have mercy on them had their skin been smooth and clean, unmarked and unwounded? I have a feeling their life stories would have been drastically different if they never had to put the “Hello, my name is LEPER” sticker on their tunic.
So, my question to you today is, what is your diagnosis that is also a key to your destiny? What issue, problem, or illness has infected your life in order to magnify your need for Him? Which mountain or valley, hurdle or trench are you attempting to overcome on your own, when the purpose of that thing is to allow you to see that you desperately need His presence in your life?
Now, I’m not suggesting he intentionally infected your life with issues to say “Ha! Now you HAVE to come to me!” Obviously, Jesus didn’t walk the earth striking people down with leprosy so he could turn around and heal them. However, their desperation and deprivation allowed their eyes and ears to be opened to His message in ways that a healthy, happy life wouldn’t have.
My challenge to you today is to give yourself a check-up. Identify the areas of your life that seem “dis-eased,” and take them to the healer. He wants you to come. He is pleading for you to come, because He knows that He alone can bring wholeness and healing like none other. Let your leprosy pull you into His presence. You’ll see how amazing it is right there at His feet … and you’ll never want to leave!
Now, leprosy is still on my “Rather Not Experience” list. However, I have an entirely new take on it. How about you? :)