Touching the Lepers

11 Jul

Today I visited a leper colony, and my heart was absolutely crushed by the pain I witnessed there. Human beings, people just like you and me, hobbled around on crutches with fingers, toes, legs, and arms missing, eaten away by disease. I looked into eyes clouded by blindness and I hugged skin with open sores covered by makeshift bandages. My stomach churned and my eyes burned with tears as I saw the tiny bodies of the elderly and disabled huddled in lumps of brown flesh on their doorsteps, their bones sticking out in all directions. They all looked so hungry. Hungry for food, hungry for affection, and hungry for an answer I couldn’t give. I’m not a doctor. I felt so helpless. Their mouths moved to form words I couldn’t understand, their desperate pleas for help falling flat on my white, western ears. Even if I knew what they were asking for, I had nothing to give them. I had no medicine, no bandages, and no food.

So I did the only thing I knew to do… I prayed. I prayed the most desperate prayer I have ever prayed in my life on behalf of a person I had just met and already loved. I begged for the Lord to reveal His character, His mercy and compassion and unending love through healing. I prayed that Jesus would extend His hand and touch the wounds of His children. I prayed against disease, I prayed against sickness. I proclaimed the victory of Jesus Christ at Calvary over these frail bodies. I prayed until my throat went dry and my voice became hoarse. But every time I opened my eyes the sores were still there, the eyes were still sad. So I prayed again and again and again, and though I will never understand why the Lord doesn’t heal people immediately every time we ask, I know He heals them. I know He comforts them. I know His character remains the same, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. He keeps His marriage vow to His bride. We just have to keep ours. We must press on in faith, unshaken, believing for things unseen.

I know that this is where some people begin to discredit the sovereignty of the Lord. Some people say that God does not care, that if bad things happen to good people, God must not love us. Some people believe that miracles are dead, that the Lord’s power has ceased. And if this is you, all I can tell you is that I’ll pray twice for you tonight.

This witnessing of sadness beyond compare has not shaken my faith one bit. In fact, it has strengthened it. After we walked around the leper colony, praying for the people, we headed back to the front and held a church service. My heart soared as I watched dozens of near-crippled lepers move their decaying bodies to the front to attend the service. I watched in awe as they sang and clapped their stumpy hands together. As I stood up to preach, I felt utterly speechless. What could I say to these people? Their dedication to the Lord far surpassed mine. The faith of these people is as unmoveable as Mount Everest, their commitment unwavering. These are followers of Jesus. I managed, by the grace of God, to deliver a sermon that made them smile and we took some photos. The presence of the Holy Spirit was so evident there, as if the Lord gave them a double portion to numb their pain. I know I will see healing there. So I pray, and I wait in expectation for the miracles are on the horizon.

Keep the faith,

Erika

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5 Responses to “Touching the Lepers”

  1. La Vonne Earl July 12, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Wow, what a a truly touching story!! I pray my faith will be as strong as the lepers singing even in their pain.

    • erikaearl July 17, 2010 at 4:02 am #

      It so is, my Momma. It so is. 🙂

  2. anil July 13, 2010 at 2:39 am #

    Why can’t your help be without ulterior motives? I can obviously see the greed that is underlying all such acts. Increasing the numbers in Christian faith. These religious zeal has created tons of issues in this world.

  3. iwascreated2worship July 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    What an awesome story. May God continue to use you, bless you, and protect you…

  4. ritaroberts August 26, 2010 at 3:49 am #

    What faith you have Erika,as did Princess Diana I to help to raise funds for the Leproy Mission because I believe that these people deserve help,Somehow they manage to remain pleasant regardless of their suffering.
    Good luck to you in all the work you are doing

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