Facing Disease

Luke 17:15-16

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.

I understand from Bible stories that Jews and Samaritans did not get along very well. Yet two popular stories speak well of Samaritans. The Good Samaritan was someone who took care of a wounded person on the side of the road – someone who probably wouldn’t have taken care of him if their roles were reversed. Another Samaritan was one of ten men with leprosy.

Luke 17:11-19 tells the story of the one out of ten who thanked God for healing him. The oft-asked question is: why didn’t the other nine throw themselves at the feet of Jesus and thank him?

I couldn’t begin to put myself in their position since I’ve never been faced with that kind of torturous, flesh-eating disease. It would be a very scary situation. It’s a rot-while-you-wait kind of slow death. I would imagine living in a colony of lepers and watching everyone around you go through the same pain you’re feeling could destroy anyone’s positive outlook.

When these ten men saw Jesus, they yelled and tried to get his attention. They wanted relief, and Jesus had a reputation for giving people their lives back. When Jesus yelled back for them to go to the priest, he wasn’t putting them off. They were supposed to let the priest officially pronounce them clean and healed.

I don’t know what the other nine were thinking as they went on their way. However, I know that when your life is given back to you because of a miraculous healing, God did it. God should be thanked.

If something good happens to you that turns your life upside down, I wonder if you automatically think, “Wow, this is my lucky day.” Or do you thank God?

I’m pretty sure Jesus appreciated the joyful praises that came from the Samaritan. You and I don’t have to wait for God to perform another miracle. We can fill the air with joyful praises to God for what he’s already done. Why wait for God to answer another prayer when he’s already done so much for us? We don’t have to wait. We can praise God right now.

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