The leper in today’s Gospel (Mark 1:40-45) asks to be made clean, healed of his disease. It’s a request I know well. I pray it every time I am sick or hurt: Please God, heal me.
And then the fear kicks in.
What if I don’t get better? I think, and my mind romps wildly off into the land of worst-case scenarios. In a world where medical information is available 24/7, an Internet search on a cough eventually leads me to think I have terminal pulmonary disease.
At times like this, I need to pause, breathe, and remember the healing that has already taken place in my life. My past reads as one big litany of illnesses that have been cured. The chickenpox I had as a kid. Countless stomach flus and colds. The mononucleosis-induced sore throat that felt like swallowing razor blades. The infected cysts that are too disgusting to describe. The raging UTI that landed me in the ER. The wounds from falls, from minor burns, from two C-sections. My body wants to repair itself. It wants to heal, and it always has.
True, the healing may not happen on my preferred schedule, or even on my own terms. But in the face of anxiety about my health, I need to remember the other times when I have been afraid and those fears have been baseless. I need to remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by the God Who wants me to thrive.
I need the faith of the leper, in other words.
That isn’t easy for a hypochondriac like me. In an anxious world, worry is never far away. But when it comes down to faith versus fear, I’d much rather turn to faith. It’s a matter of retraining my thinking, and—with God’s help—I’m ready to try.
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Ginny Kubitz Moyer is a mother, high school English teacher, and BBC period drama junkie. She is the author of three books, including Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses and Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood. Ginny lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two boys, and about thirty thousand Legos. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Seven Sacraments found here. You can find out more about her here.