Lessons from the Lepers

 

 

Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; his love endures forever. –1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV

Tucked away in the Gospel of Luke is the account of Jesus healing ten lepers—nine verses that we may read, think we got the main idea, and move on.

Much is said about the one who, when he realized he’d been healed, returned to Jesus, threw himself down at His feet, and thanked Him.

But let’s not dismiss the other nine as totally ungrateful. Instead let’s take a closer look at this miracle—and what we can learn from it.

First, all ten lepers were in a difficult, impossible situation.

Today leprosy can be treated, but in biblical times it was a death sentence. It changed your life—you no longer had a life, except as an outcast to be shunned. You were forbidden to be in contact with family and friends. If you sneezed or coughed on someone, you’d transmit the incurable disease to them. So you were avoided at all costs.

Leprosy disfigured you. Its stench was nauseating, disgusting, and repulsive—and so were you. You lived your life as a pariah, shouting “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn others not to get near you.

So you wouldn’t be alone, you joined other lepers and wandered about the countryside, a mere beggar because you could no longer earn your livelihood and support your family. You were dependent on the mercy of others, who would slip you money or food to help you survive. You had no pride left.

Your only hope was a miracle, and the only One who performed miracles was an itinerant rabbi, the controversial Jesus of Nazareth. But, hey, He was your only chance. What could you lose if you tracked Him down and asked?

Do you find yourself in difficult circumstances? Remember, God specializes in the impossible. He wants to help you in your circumstances. They aren’t too difficult for Him. All you have to do is ask—and you don’t even have to track Him down because He’s with you all the time (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20).

Second, when they asked for mercy (translate: miracle), Jesus told them to do something.

No words of healing were spoken. No curing touch given. Just a command to “go, show yourselves to the priests”—the normal procedure the Jew was to follow when his leprosy was gone.

They didn’t question. They didn’t argue. They probably didn’t understand the command—but they obeyed.

“And as they went,” Luke tells us, “they were miraculously healed and made clean” (Luke 17:14 AMP).

Remember, although only one returned to say thank you, all ten obeyed. Sometimes God asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense and that you don’t understand. Obedience is prerequisite to the miracle.

Third, all ten had faith enough to ask and faith enough to obey, even though at the start of their walk to show themselves to the priests, there was no change in their condition. Their faith wasn’t in what they could see, in their appearance, or in anything tangible.

“Faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses” (Hebrews 11:1 AMP).

Where are you putting your faith? In what you can see, hear, and experience with your physical senses?

Or in the promises of a God

Take a lesson from the lepers:

Ask. Obey. Believe. Receive. And then rejoice.

How awesome, Father God, that there is more to thank You for than to ask You for! Amen.

Read and meditate on Luke 17:11–19

© 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

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Faith Farming

Maxine greets Corinne.

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. –Mark 11:24 NKJV

Maxine was sick. Critically sick. The year-and-a-half–old Alpine goat had broken into the grain bin and helped herself to way too much for her stomach to digest.

Now, I thought goats could eat anything, and it wouldn’t harm them. Not so.

A goat, I learned, has four compartments in its stomach, the first of which is called the rumen. It is here that healthy bacteria begin to digest the food before passing it on. If the healthy bacteria are destroyed—by eating too much grain, for example—the goat can’t digest its food. The decaying food and unhealthy bacteria that linger in the rumen can quickly become toxic, leading to an agonizing death. This condition is called abomasal bloat. Approximately 75 percent of animals with aboomasal bloat die.

When Maxine’s owner, my friend Corinne, realized her precious goat was ill and why, she immediately called the vet.

“It took us hours to get as much IV fluids, injections, and antibiotics to keep her from toxicity, and pumping her stomach full of mineral oil, baking soda, and a laxative to help her dislodge the grain,” Corinne posted on her Facebook page.

She asked for prayer.

“I’ve been crying nonstop over my precious goat,” she said. “I can’t do anything more. I need God to intervene. She needs her rumen to work.”

The pressure from the stomach gas on Maxine’s heart and lungs caused her to groan with every breath.

“It’s excruciating for me, and exhausting for her,” Corinne said.

But still she persisted in prayer, singing praise and worship songs to Maxine every night and “speaking life over a goat that was dying.”

Through the following week, Maxine received treatment for pain, bloat, a damaged rumen, sepsis, and muscle breakdown. She was given a 10 percent chance of surviving.

But Maxine beat the odds.

“Maxine is loved. She is healing. She is a miracle,” Corinne posted on Facebook.

You see, Corinne takes God at His Word. Jesus said to ask, so she isn’t afraid to ask mountain-sized requests. He said to knock, so she knocks and keeps on knocking until the door opens (Matthew 7:7–8).

She takes to heart the words of the Son of God when He said, “Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mark 11:23–24 NKJV).

“God is good,” Corinne said. “And even if it would turn differently today, I would know that He is still good. I’m just glad I can still hug her neck, squeeze her little lips, and touch foreheads with her.”

I wish I were more like Corinne. Too often I let doubt eat away at my faith.

I need to remember what Corinne said: “If my Father is able to hear our heart cries over a sick goat, He’s able to hear your cries over what your heart is speaking.”

The next time I wrestle with doubt, that enemy of faith, I’ll remember a dying goat that lived—all because her owner believed in the power of prayer.

Help me, Lord, to have the kind of faith that moves mountains. Destroy every seed of doubt in me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 7:7–11; Mark 11:22–24; James 1:6–8.

Maxine and Lucy

© 2020 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Photos by Corinne States (c) 2020 Corinne States. Used with permission.