A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed.
‘If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,’ he said.
Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him.
‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’

Mark 1:40-41 NLT

I love the story of the leper’s healing in Mark, chapter one. When I read this story, I get a mental picture of Jesus’ face lighting up in a brilliant smile, love shining in His twinkling eyes as He takes the sick man’s face in His holy, soon-to-be-scarred hands, enthusiastically proclaiming

His willingness to make the man clean and whole. In my interpretation, He might as well have responded, “Are you kidding me? You bet I’m willing! I want the very best for you—and besides, your faith is blowing me away right now. I love that about you!”

It wasn’t a question of Jesus’ willingness at all. Rather, the sick man’s healing depended upon his own willingness—his willingness to admit his need, to ask for healing, and to dare to believe that Jesus would receive him. The leper was willing to do these things because he wanted health. He wanted to be clean and whole. And he wanted it badly.

God is willing to make us whole, to free us from the diseases and disorders that have enslaved us to lives of fear and shame. We need not even ask Him if it is His will for us to be free of our eating disorders. Eating disorders are rooted in shame and deception, and God is light and truth.

His desire to see us free of our diseases is a no-brainer. After all, “it was for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1), and “whom the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36). God is willing for us to be made whole. The question is, are we?

Willingness is an essential recovery principle in the battle against an eating disorder. And in theory, we might say, “Sure, God, I’m willing. Go ahead and fix me. Take it away. Let me wake up tomorrow feeling and thinking differently, and then I will behave differently.” If only it worked that way. But there’s more to the question when God is the one doing the asking. “Are you willing to follow Me, even when you don’t know where I’m leading you? Are you willing to trust Me? (Okay, and let’s get real: Are you willing to trust your dietician? Your therapist? Your psychiatrist?) Are you willing to let go of the control that you have come to believe will keep you safe? Are you willing to surrender?”

Whoa! Those are tough questions, aren’t they? And you may have answered them rather passionately, whether your answer was yes or no. What feelings do these questions awaken in you? Fear? Anxiety? Anger? Ambivalence? If so, dear sister, you may have a willingness problem. But take heart; God already knows about it.

God looks upon your heart. He knows where you are in terms of willingness in your recovery process. What’s most important today is that you know where you are. And now that you know, you can take the next step. Talk with God about it.

* * *

Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comments below!

What step will make you more willing to get healed?


by: Jena Morrow

Amazon Price $7.95

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JenaMorrowJena Morrow’s debut book, “Hope,” chronicles her nearly three-decade-long battle with eating and body image issues. In her second book, “Hope for the Hollow,” Jena takes readers on a thirty-day devotional journey to challenge eating disordered thoughts and beliefs in light of God’s Word. In addition to being a writer, speaker, and activist for eating disorder awareness and prevention, Jena works as the Alumnae Coordinator at Timberline Knolls in Lemont, IL, a premiere residential treatment center for women and girls battling eating disorders, substance abuse, mood disorders, self-injury, and PTSD. Jena makes her home in a suburb of Chicago with her son, Jaden, his pet snake Stephanie, and a mischievous cat named Prim.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.