"Aaargh!" screamed Luke as he leaned over his washing bowl. "That's huge! That's massive! That's...that's on my face!" He jumped back from the water in terror. "Surely not again, not another one." Tentatively he stepped back up to the bowl. There in the reflection of the misty water, Luke could make out a large red blob on the end of his nose. It was another spot and it was blazing like a campfire. He gave it a squeeze in a hope that it would explode but instead a sharp pain stabbed the inside of his nostril. It wasn't ripe yet. He was going to have it for at least a day.
His heart sank at the thought of all the jibes he would have to suffer; and to add to his misery, his father had asked him to fetch fresh fish from the lakeside, so Luke couldn't hide under his bed until it popped.
The best he could hope for was to arrive in the shadows, incognito; and hope nobody recognised him.
He crept from the house into the streets.
In the quiet of the early morning, he darted from doorway to doorway, ducking behind large water jars and diving under carts every time someone entered the street. He kept to the back roads and moved quickly, in spurts, darting across the narrow streets and then hiding till he was sure the way was clear.
He had nearly reached the edge of the town, when his concentration lapsed and he ran straight into the path of an on coming...something.
At first Luke had no idea what he was eyeball-to-eyeball with. All he could tell was that it smelled like dead fish rotting at the bottom of a fishing boat. It had two legs and two arms like a man but its flesh was split and peeling. The blisters that oozed and bled on its face mesmerised Luke who gawped in horror.
Then he realised that this was no monster from the bottom of the lake; this was a leper. This was a human being whose whole body was disintegrating and rotting whilst he lived.
He could hear the man's joints crack and scrape as the leper moved slowly passed him.
Luke gasped and jumped back into shadows! He didn't feel quite so ashamed of his spot anymore. He'd been only inches from a leper and he'd seen how devastating leprosy was. Then before he could consider the issue further, another man enter the street higher up. Luke watched as the leper rushed towards the man and fell on his face at his feet.
Luke waited for the man to move away quickly from the deadly leper, but he didn't. The two men spoke and then, to Luke's utter amazement, the man leaned down and touched the leper.
"That's it! He's a goner!" thought Luke. "He'll be a leper too before the week's out."
After a moment, the man left the street and the leper turned to set off in Luke's direction, but now the leper wasn't hauling himself along painfully. Now he was skipping and jumping and shouting, "Praise the Lord!"
As the leper passed him, Luke could see why. Miraculously his leprously had been healed, his decaying skin was now renewed and smooth, even the hairs on his arms and legs were restored thick and dark. Okay, so he still looked rather shabby in his old rags, but Luke was mightily impressed.
As the man ran past, he smiled and waved, disappearing off down a connecting street.
Luke climbed out from the shadows. He didn't feel the need to hide anymore. After all, what were spots compared to leprosy, and, besides, Luke had a mystery to solve. He wanted to know more than anything who the man was who could heal leprosy. He set off determined to find out.
Do you sometimes worry about how you look? What things are more important than your appearance? How can you look beautiful to God?
Your most beautiful part should be your heart!
A VERSE TO LEARN
"...the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7b).
Dear Lord, please help me to know that
how I look on the outside matters less than
how kind and thoughtful I am
to those around me.
Please give me a good heart
so I can please You and everyone I meet.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
Luke, chapter 5, verses 12-16
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