Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” (Mark 1:41)
Some things you just don’t forget, like the attack on our country in 2001. After all these years, people still ask, “Where were you on 9/11?”
I was home with my 4-year-old daughter, already in the midst of a meltdown. Me, not her. Yes, before my husband called with news of a plane crash into the first of New York’s beloved Twin Towers, before my best friend called about the second plane’s implosion of the south tower (obviously not an accident), I was facing terror from a different invasion. Lice.
Upon discovery the day before, our hairdresser promptly scooted us out. The pediatrician made some recommendations but denied an office visit. Because the critters are so easily spread, we self-quarantined. This bug battle swiftly triggered a melee of the mind: “What if I miss one? A whole new army will grow! What if I get it? Who will pick my hair? Clean the bedding, furniture, carpets, curtains, toys…” As a young mom with no experience in this area, no outside help, and a phobia of parasites, I felt alone and untouchable. Maybe you can relate.
Nausea and nightmares erupted as fear encompassed me, even creating a temporary blockade to cuddling my baby. I was afraid to hold her close because I didn’t want to catch it! This unforgettable “mom failure” is why I’m so thankful for the picture of God’s heart in Mark 1:41: Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” He healed outcasts (in this case a leper) not just with words but often with His hand. Jesus touched the untouchable. His love for mankind broke all barriers.
In Bible times, those with Leprosy were considered “walking dead”, as the disease decays a body, piece by piece. This man was in the advanced stages. Jewish law forbade contact with a leper and the custom of that time was to stay six feet apart. Can you imagine how long it had been since he felt a touch from anyone, let alone experienced compassion? His cleansing would be the first of its kind mentioned in the Bible – a bold request from a desperate man who knew nothing but rejection. Yet, Jesus was moved with compassion and, in so doing, broke no law because upon His touch, the man was healed from the inside out.
Dear friends, we don’t need Leprosy to feel like we’re falling apart. Whether personal crisis, national tragedy or worldwide pandemic, in terrified isolation, you are never truly alone. My lice experience was painful, exhausting, even embarrassing; still, God touched us – the shampoo didn’t work but the Lord did! Prayer prevailed, miraculously cleansing my daughter’s golden locks, while His presence held me together with peace in the midst.
Do you need a fresh touch of God’s unstoppable love? Does someone you know? The Lord is able. Pray fervently, reach boldly, and watch God break barriers!