The one who came back

The one who came back

When I saw the sore on my hand, I knew exactly what it was.
And I knew that my life would change for ever.  And it did.
I lost everything.
I lost my home, my family, my job, my status, my identity.
I gained a new identity – social outcast.
I joined up with some other men in the same situation.
They were nice enough but – you know – they were a mixed bunch, like any group of people.
To be honest – it was a living nightmare.
Well, one day it changed again.  In an amazing and miraculous way.
We’d heard about a guy called Jesus who went round healing people.
I think that more than one of us was praying that we’d bump into him.
On that particular day, we went round a corner in a village just outside Samaria –
And there he was!  On the road, with his disciples.
We kept our distance, and rang our bells – like we always did.
One of us shouted out, “Jesus! Jesus!  Can you do anything to help us?”
Time stood still then and I thought to myself, ‘this could go either way’.
Either this was going to be the biggest disappointment of our lives, or
The greatest hope.
At first, it seemed like the former because Jesus simply said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests”.
We thought, ‘Hey, that’s weird, why would the priests want to see 10 dirty and unkempt lepers?’
But, he spoke with such authority, that we did what he said.
We turned round and started to go in search of the priests.
We’d gone a way up the road when someone started shouting:
“I’m clean!  I’m clean!” 
Then all pandemonium broke out.  People were shouting and laughing and crying – all at once.
They started dispersing, some to their homes and families, some to the priests, some down the pub.
I was left standing there, looking at my clean and healthy skin, trying to take it all in.
Suddenly I was overwhelmed by a complete sense of God’s love and power and presence and by an amazing feeling deep inside of security and warmth and gratitude.
Before I knew what I was doing, I was running back the way I had come.
Jesus was still there, it was almost as if he was waiting for me.
I threw myself down in front of him saying, “ Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  How can I ever thank you?”
He smiled at me, drew me to my feet and said words that I will never forget.
“It is your faith that has healed you.
Go to the priests then go home to your family.  Be well.  Be whole.”
What changed in me the most that day was not the physical cure, although that was miraculous.
It was not even the acceptance back into society, although that was a huge relief.
It was the transformation that happened inside and the deep assurance that God loves and cares for me.
And that feeling will stay with me for ever.

Jacqui A Horton 2008