Lessons From a Leper

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Mark 1:40-42

“And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.”

I am convinced in life there are two ways in which we learn; from our own mistakes, or from others mistakes. Fortunately for me, I learned at an early age to learn what I could from other peoples mistakes; not to say that I’ve never made mistakes, I’ve just been privileged to have been raised around people who have had their fair share of them. But there is another way in which we learn from, and that’s from watching people endure seemingly impossible circumstances, and watch how they respond. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is by watching people react while dealing with what appears to be insurmountable odds. I’ve watched 2 precious ladies in our church, one of whom is our Pastor’s wife, deal with the dreadful diagnosis of cancer. And I learned from them the value of consistency, as they never wavered and never lost faith in their God! I’ve watched my parents, as they were strung out on drugs, and had lost everything they had, mount up the courage to turn to God, and I have witnessed restoration first hand! I don’t worry about the odds that are against me! I know I serve a God who is ALL powerful, ALL knowing and ALWAYS on time!

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This story from the book of Mark reveals to us a man dealing with these surreal life scenarios. The Bible tells us that this man was a leper; now understand that this disease was one of the most miserable sicknesses you could ever have. It began in the nervous system and would cause your body to violently shake. It was severely painful and debilitating. But as this disease progresses, it begins to move from the internal organs of your body and begins to expose itself on the outside of your body. It begins to slowly eat away at portions of your body. It was not uncommon to see a leper without a nose, or without an ear. They were considered unclean by the priest and were expelled out of the city and forbidden to have any interaction with humanity again. Imagine the desperation that would eat at your soul, imagine the loneliness and the torment of this lifestyle. So I can imagine as Jesus approached that suddenly hope began to fill his spirit…

Now I know how I would’ve reacted. I would’ve made the biggest scene possible, I would’ve cried as loud as I can cry. I would beg Jesus to heal and deliver me from the torment of a disease that was considered incurable. But as I read this story I was blown away by the response of this man. He sees Jesus, and instead of begging for a miracle, this man instead gives me the greatest lesson I’ve learned so far in my ministry. He responds…

“If you will, I know you can make me clean.”

His faith understood, Jesus can heal me! His faith understood all my hope rests in Him! His faith understood, Jesus is the answer to all my problems. But his faith recognized something even more powerful than a miracle. He told Jesus there was something more important than being healed, and being restored; and that’s living in the will of God! I know you can heal me, he said, but if it’s not your will for my life, I still believe in you! I still believe in your word! Because my physical condition is not more important than my spiritual condition! And I’d rather live a leper and be saved, than to live cleansed and be lost!

I’ve completely changed my approach in prayer. I no longer pray for specific miracles or blessings, I want to know I’m in the will of God! Oh, I could use a financial miracle; I could use healing and provision; but if that will deter me from the will of God I’d rather be broke, sick and without, and still have Jesus!

Now look at the power of this kind of submission. The Bible says when this leper made this statement, that Jesus was moved with compassion. This is the key to unlocking the door of God’s compassion. Mark 5 shows us a man who’s son was possessed with a devil, and when he saw Jesus he responded this way. “My son is possessed and often times he throws himself in the fire and in the water, and if you can do anything; have compassion.” (Paraphrased) He thought that by telling God how bad he had it that it would open up the compassion of God. But God does not respond to need, or else we would all be healed; God responds to faith! And when that leper tapped into that dimension of faith, when he got consumed with being in line with the will of God; Jesus was moved with compassion! And Jesus said, It is my will!

If your going through what seems to be impossible situations, don’t feel sorry for yourself, and don’t allow yourself to get consumed with the pity party of life. But start approaching God with this new mindset. It’s not about the miracle, it’s about being submitted to the will of God!

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