I’ve been reading a lot about the many, many people Jesus healed during the last three years of His life. So many of those stories move me, because I can identify with the person in need of His healing touch at one time or another.
But there is one.
One story that actually hurts when I read it…..
Because it is so true.
So true, I think, that it reveals what I, deep deep down, have thought or feared for all of my life.
Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.
Leprosy was a terrible disease which would cover someone in contagious sores, and would eventually lead to losing parts of the body because they became rotten with infection.
These people were isolated from EVERYONE…
He must have heard it so often, that word “unclean”, which they would announce every time he daringly approached the rest of world.
It must’ve felt like his name.
Who he was.
Then, Jesus comes to town, this amazing, mysterious Miracle Worker.
He had to have heard what He’d done in other places…so much so that he had no doubt Jesus COULD heal HIM.
But that wasn’t the leprous man’s problem.
A problem he never tried to hide from the One who made all things possible.
“If You are willing “.
Man, those four words break me up every time!
And they did for Jesus, too.
It says next that Jesus was “moved with compassion “.
The word used for compassion means ” to be moved in the inward parts”, or “to have the bowels yearn”.
Bathe in this for a minute. ( I love words!!!)
Jesus felt those words from that man so deeply….
In His bowels!!
My goodness, guys, He loves us so much!!
Okay, so Jesus heals the man of leprosy, and he basically dances away, finally free.
So, why does this story hurt me so much?
Because this has always been my fear…
NOT that He can’t do whatever He wants….
What if He doesn’t WANT to?
From the beginning of my walk with Him, this has been my largest fear, one I’ve never admitted to ANYONE.
But it’s true.
There are things that I desperately want God to do in my life, and in the lives of others.
Things that would bring me great joy, but would also bring God GREAT glory!
So, you ask for years…
And nothing happens.
So you begin to think, “maybe He just doesn’t want to do this for ME.
what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Matthew 7: 9-11
I know I’m not the only one who feels unworthy of His great love.
But friends, the problem with letting this train of thought into your heart , that God doesn’t love you as His child, is that it will change how you then see God.
You can’t see Him as loving if you could ever think He would keep you from the things your heart desires most for any other reason than it was for your good and His glory.
I love how honest this man was with Jesus.
He confessed he didn’t know if God would WANT TO heal HIM.
And Jesus answers him.
” OF COURSE, I WANT TO!”
We need to keep believing those words Jesus said to him.
“I. Am. Willing.”
Maybe it doesn’t or won’t happen for us immediately…
But if I’m one of His kids, I GOTTA believe He doesn’t have snakes waiting for me when it’s time to eat.
He WANTS your healed heart.
He WANTS your healed body!
He WANTS your healed relationships!
He really, really, DOES!
Why do I “gotta” believe this?
Because He loves me.
Because He wants to.