In Luke chapter 5 verses 12-13 there is a story of Jesus healing a man who had leprosy.
"While He (Jesus) was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and im[plored Him, saying, "Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean." And he streatched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately the leprosy left him."
This was a man who was probably very lonely (as many illnesses or chronic pain can be) he was shunned because of the contagious nature of leprosy, and suffering greatly. Here are some of my thoughts about this account:
1. This man knew the reputaion of Jesus - he knew that He was powerful enough to heal. He put himself under Jesus authority and called Him "Lord" which means "master". There was great respect in the way that he asked for healing. The man knew that he should not demand healing - rather he aknowledged that Jesus has the power to heal and said "If You are willing..." I find this in direct opposition to many who feel that they have the place to demand healing from God as if he were our slave rather than our God and King. I have actually had Christians tell me that it is wrong to pray "Thy will be done!" because I need to demand of God what I want! I figure that I am human and my understanding and vision is limited - while God know and sees everything ... so why wouldn't I pray that He do what His will demands?
3. Jesus touched him. This gives me goosebumps. This is a man who had lived a life probably for years (he was covered with the horrible skin disease)of being "untouchable". People would have shunned him - the law had many rules about leprosy - to protect others from this disease and to not make others "unclean". I feel that the stigma of leprosy was similar to what some people feel about the AIDS epidemic. Much of the attitude around leprosy was ruled by fear. I can only imagine what it felt like to have Jesus - the famous teacher and Lord TOUCH this man!
Sometimes, being ill or in chronic pain can make you feel untouchable -- and lonely. Often I just want to have people interact with me like a "normal" person. I am sure this is nothing compaired with what this man with leporsy felt. But, it is the feeling of so so many people in the world. Having people afraid that they might "catch" whatever .. or afraid that they might hurt you, being unable to participate in some areas of life ... all of this adds up to feeling alone. But Jesus is the God who reaches down to our suffering - whatever kind of suffering it may be, and touches us. He doesn't put on a glove or medical mask .. when He came to the earth He came just like us ... He lives and suffered just like us. We don't have to feel like He doesn't care.
The same God who reached out His hand to touch this man so many years ago is the same God who desires to touch each of us with His love and heal us in exactly the way that is best according to His will for each of us!