My daughter recently emailed me a response to my recent Ben Hur blogs and mentioned her favorite scene.
“Hey Dad! Just wanted to say that even though I will only be home for one day this Easter, I hope we watch Ben Hur! Your blog just keeps on growing, and I know you love it! And just so you know, the scene that always sticks with me is the mother and daughter with leprosy and being in the leprosy caves, and when Jesus dies and the lightning and thunder happen, they are suddenly healed. Those leprosy caves always stuck with me though.
I love you always!”
I must admit as a very young child I didn’t know exactly what was going on with the leprosy scene. As I got older I understood but when you’re only five or six when you first see the movie it may be confusing why people were treated that way. I also know that Hollywood embellishes things to the point of sometimes actually turning the audience off. However, I don’t think that happens in this movie. A few years ago I watched a movie about the 300 Spartans battling the Persians. The actual real life battle remains amazing to me, and I don’t necessarily need Hollywood to make it so graphic. I also did not like the way Hollywood portrayed Persian General/King making him look bizarre.
In the movie Ben Hur the lepers are healed shortly after the death of Christ on the Cross. The implication being that the blood flowing down the Cross can bring healing. It was not too graphic, a little bit on the tear jerky side I admit, but overall the story was told and the movie directed in a way for the viewer to believe or not believe in the power of the healing on the Cross.
The problem, however, is that after a person watches the movie they have to step back into the real world. A world filled with lots of pain, suffering, disease, and ………unanswered prayers. Do we see, much less believe God heals in today’s world. If we do not see it directly, or in the way we think God should heal, does that mean God does not care? Let me ask you this? What about all the villages that Jesus walked through where some were healed while others may not have been healed. It is interesting and I think wrong of us to think we know what Jesus should have done, or how he should have accomplished his ministry on earth.
There is a story in the New Testament where a blind person is brought to Jesus for healing. The people asked Jesus, “Who sinned here, the parents of the one born blind or the blind man himself?” Jesus responded, “Neither, this happened to glorify God.” Does this mean God created disease, deafness, and other afflictions?
I do not have an answer for such questions, but I do think they are worth exploring. I think the reason we struggle with them is that we want to be in control, not God. You see, we would make it right for everyone by healing everyone, wouldn’t we. And yet, Jesus did not do that. Instead some were healed while others were not. What is my response to this? As of today (I may have a better response tomorrow) I believe we should search and pray for healing during afflictions. However, we should not overlook the fact that a lot soul searching occurs during those times and each of us can grow during those circumstances. May not be fun, may not be what we would have chosen for our lives, but may be what God wants for us in some measure to experience.
Does this mean good can come out of all bad happenings or circumstances? I’m not so sure. I just know that I live in a culture that wants immediate closure to each and every problem; physical, financial, emotional, whatever. That is human nature. If we don’t get what we envision is best for us, then we believe something is wrong and God just doesn’t understand. No, perhaps we are the ones that don’t get it. I suspect difficult times makes us by nature do some soul searching and maybe that is what God wants more from us. Maybe that is why we live in an imperfect world, one where bad things can happen. Experiencing the difficult things can help remind us of the good things (most of us are not blind, deaf, or extremely sick), and to learn to hope. Hope teaches us to live with a greater dependence on God. We will treasure life more when we learn to do that.