“As he [Jesus] was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed” [Luke 17:11-14]
Why do these verses matter to couples struggling through infertility? Because they provide a template for the transformation from suffering outsiders to blessed & favored ones.
At the start of this 4-sentence story, a group of outcasts – set apart (literally and figuratively) by their affliction – call across the gulf of separation. They’ve been driven out of their community by an affliction they do not fully understand. They’ve realized they cannot heal themselves. And they won’t be welcomed back by society unless they are “normal.” They know that only a miracle can heal them and pave the way for their return.
So, they intercept Jesus on his way to minister to the community that rejected them. From a distance, they call out to him. Their words – “have pity on us!” – reflect the truth of their pitiable condition, and their understanding that only compassion can overcome the typical response to their affliction: fear and judgment. Please, they beg, let your compassion overwhelm any other emotion… and then, do something to help us.
Jesus hears them, and he responds. Not by running in the other direction, as most people do when the lepers announce their presence. Jesus responds by telling them how to change their circumstances by faith. He says, “Go, show yourselves to their priests.” In other words, go to those who will confirm that your suffering has ended. You are no longer a victim. Your affliction is gone. You are healed. It’s over. What he doesn’t say – but what they sense – is that by the time they get to the priests, they will be “normal” again.
And it happens.
They head for the priests, still lepers. They arrive, healthy men. They respond to Jesus’ instruction in faith, and Jesus heals them on the way. They don’t wait for evidence, and then depart. Jesus says, “Go” and they hit the road, trusting that He will transform them.
That’s the template.
Too often, infertility makes couples live like lepers — set apart, judged, condemned and forgotten. They sink into isolation and despair. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
If we want our suffering transformed by a miracle, we need to step out in faith. We need to trust that a miracle is in the works before we see the evidence. We need to claim God’s promise that all things are possible, and believe that the lepers’ story can be our story, too.
Will it be? Scripture is full of stories of suffering people whose circumstances changed in an instant; repeatedly, Jesus told them, “your faith has healed you.” He meant, your willingness to believe opened the door for me. You invited me into your story when you believed I would come. When you called for help and believed I heard you and cared.
Don’t think of yourself as a helpless victim. Don’t live like a leper. You can call for help any time. The one who healed the lepers – simply by willing it to be so – is ready to respond to you, too. Are you ready to believe that he will?
For more resources and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com