When Miriam, the sister of Moses, sinned through spiritual pride, she was afflicted with leprosy. Through Moses’ intercessory prayer she was healed. Before she experienced healing and restoration, however, she was shut out of the fellowship of the camp until seven days of repentance passed. Not only was Miriam’s fellowship interrupted, the whole camp delayed its march until Miriam was restored.
“Confess your trespasses to one another … that you may be healed,” commands James (James 5:16). Is it possible that delays in receiving answers to our prayer may sometimes be the result of a sin? Is there anything of sin in our hearts that is halting our progress in the Lord, as well as the progress of those around us?
By no means is bodily affliction always the result of sin. Nonetheless, when we seek healing, it is wise to search our hearts. Repentance and humility will not earn healing, but they may, as with Miriam, clear the way for God’s grace to be revealed more fully.