Be Like the One Leper

On Mother’s Day, I went to hear one of my favorite preachers.  I realize more and more what a privilege it is to sit under the wisdom of her teaching. When the service finished, a long line began to form in front of her.  I almost walked away, not wanting to bother her or make my family wait on me.  But my husband urged me too.  He said, “Go ahead, tell her. You might never get another chance.”

You see, her ministry is part of an amazing miracle in my life.  In late 2017, I had a migraine that lasted almost the entire month of December without backing down in pain.  I spent Christmas in misery, and I started 2018 discouraged, broken, hopeless, and in desperate need of a miracle. I couldn’t imagine facing another year like the last. But one day in January, I saw a post on Instagram from her ministry offering for women in our area to drop by unannounced on Tuesdays at lunch to receive prayer.  I felt compelled to go even though I had been to a dozen healing prayer sessions in the last few years with no results. Something inside of me said, “Try again.”  I left a staff meeting early to get there on time. I went in and sobbed my way through explaining my headache situation as her staff prayed over me. 

Two days later, my neurologist gave me the name of a headache specialist she thought I could try.  Two months later, I sat in front of that headache specialist and was diagnosed correctly.  Six months later, I had a major surgery that has reduced my headaches by 90%. 

Here I am 9 months later, walking in the wake of a miracle.

As I told her a quick version of my story, tears welled up in my eyes and hers.  I thanked her for her ministry, for her commitment to prayer, and for the impact she has on my life.  And now, almost headache free, I am trying to pursue my calling in seminary as faithfully as she has pursued her calling. 

She responded with a story.  She said, “Remember the story in Luke 17 about the lepers that Jesus healed?”

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!” When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”As they left, they were cleansed.  One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice.  He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”

Only one of the lepers Jesus healed return to thank Him. Turns out, she and her staff prayed the week before that those who they prayed for would come back and tell of what God had done through it.  They prayed for a leper to return.

How often are we like the nine lepers when it comes to thanking God and people in our lives? How often do we forget to encourage and thank those who have served us, prayed for us, led us, or in some way, touched our lives?  It is far too easy to be the nine. It takes being intentional and brave to be the one.

If there is someone on your heart today that you’ve been meaning to thank, do it.  Turns out, you might be the leper they’ve been praying would return.


Luann Riley