Genesis 19-23; Matthew 7-8

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“Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached Jesus. He knelt before Him, worshiping. ‘Lord,’ the man said, ‘if you want to, you can make me well again.’ Jesus touched him. ‘I want to,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’ And instantly the leprosy disappeared” (Matt. 8:2-3).

Bible verses talking about healing always grab my attention. So Jesus’ statement that He wanted to heal the leper made these verses stand out.

Jesus was true to His word. He healed the leper and many like him. Yet not every sick or injured person on earth was healed during Jesus’ time here, as healing does not always come to us. This is an issue that often shakes people’s faith. How does Jesus saying no to our request for healing connect to the Matthew verses where Jesus says, “I want to [heal you]”?

One possibility is a difference in timing. When we ask for healing, we want relief as quickly as possible. While Jesus does want to heal us, He may ask us to wait for healing to occur. He may even ask us to wait until our days in Heaven, where He has promised to heal us of all our suffering and pain. Waiting can be hard, but physical and emotional suffering can lead us to a place of value, a place where we can draw nearer to God.

And that is what makes the beginning words of Matthew 8:2-3 so important. They tell us the leper “knelt before Him, worshiping.” This leper needed healing, that is obvious, but before all else he worshiped Jesus. Jesus was more important to him than his physical well-being. The Bible doesn’t tell us, but I believe that even if the leper had not been healed, he would have continued to worship Jesus because he had found something more valuable than freedom from illness.

How can I be so sure of this? Because my words are based on years of having Jesus say no to complete physical healing for me but yes to allowing me to know Him better. Without the physical issues, I doubt I would have sought God as much, and that would have been my great loss. You too may have firsthand knowledge about suffering or bear the anguish of seeing someone you love suffer. Do we desire healing for ourselves and for others? Of course we do! And yet, let us not undervalue that which can give us peace in the midst of our physical and emotional burdens—the comfort and spiritual healing of knowing Jesus more intimately and worshiping Him.

© 2010 Arlina Yates

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