How many times, when it seems like God isn’t answering a prayer, have you thought to yourself, “I guess God just isn’t willing to answer this prayer for me.”?
Down deep, many of us believe that God’s blessings and healing are for other people, but we not for us.
I confess I thought that way most of my life. I always questioned whether God WANTED to bless me with healthy relationships, understanding, financial stability, authority. There was a wrong belief in me that thought He didn’t want to use me because….well, there was something in me that caused God to overlook me, i.e. something wrong with me.
For the last year or so I have experienced such freedom while God is teaching me otherwise. Still, old habits die hard, and occasionally something occurs that sends me into a full-on pity party and I, again, question God’s willingness to use me.
A few days ago, my pity party was well under way, complete with tears and whining and yelling at God. It wasn’t a fun party, so I grabbed my Bible and threw it open – I didn’t care what I read, I just needed to shift my thinking.
It didn’t take long before I came across three words that stopped me in my tracks: I Am Willing. I grabbed my pen and started writing…
And behold, a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” (Matt 8:2-3. Emphasis mine.)
This man’s cry was more than a request to be healed of a disease. Jesus could have easily spoken the words “be cleansed”, went on His way, and the man would have been healed. However, Jesus did two things before healing him:
1. Jesus Touched Him
No one had touched this man since he contracted the disease! Imagine no one wanting to touch you. I’m sure the homeless feel this way…rarely feeling a tender or caring touch.
Jesus didn’t have to touch this man. In fact, to do so would make him unclean according to the Jewish Law. A tender touch can melt away hard hearts, years of pain, and erase bitterness – especially a touch from Jesus.
This touch went above what the man expected. How much do we realize that God is a good Father and wants to exceed our expectations? He wants to touch us. Look up and see the incredible attention the Father gives!
2. Jesus Stated He Was Willing
Jesus said, “I am willing.” The biggest question this man had was, “Are you willing to take the time to notice me and heal me?”
Isn’t that what we all want to know?
Lepers were outcast. Unclean, untouchable, rejected by society, friends, and family. Many of us struggle with feeling rejected and even unusable. As a Christian, we may know we are saved but remain in the shadows because we can’t seem to fit in anywhere. Our past may render us “unworthy” in the eyes of the church, other believers – especially ourselves.
All of us have a strong desire to be relevant.
We long for our parents, pastors, bosses, leaders, friends, and spouses to see gifts, talents, and potential in us. Many experience a life where they are not seen – like no one would notice or miss them if they stopped attending church or going to work.
There are an abundance of folks who feel unlovable, forgettable, unnoticed, unusable, or have a hard time believing that God Himself would be willing to use “someone like me.”
That’s what this story in the book of Matthew is about. A man, a person like you and me, with leprosy wanted to be healed, but even more, he wanted to know if Jesus was willing. Did Jesus see him as a person? Would Jesus want to give him time and attention? Jesus went above and beyond because He saw the real need. This man wanted to be loved, valued and noticed – as a person – not as a leper.
Hear me: God SEES you. He LOVES you. God IS willing to bless you and heal you! Meditate on these verses and let God Himself tell you how much you mean to Him!
By the time Jesus declared, “be cleansed,” I believe the man realized being healed of leprosy was nothing compared to the attention of the Son of God!
Father, thank you for Your attention. Thank you for Your love. I realize that You see me. I am important to You. Praise you for Your gentle touch and Your patience in my moments of doubt, unbelief, and self-pity. Glorious are you, Lord! You are a good Father.
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