As I wrote in Rock Bottom Principle #1, there are, I believe, some non-negotiables in the Christian life. Rock bottom principles that define who we are as Christ followers and it is always worthwhile to revisit these periodically. The first rock bottom principle is, “Do we really trust God?” This next one is just as important or maybe more so. The question now is,”Do I believe that God wants to do good in my life?” In other words, we may believe that God is able to do whatever He wants, but is He willing to exercise that power for ME – even me. What if He isn’t? Then what do I do? We are afraid of the answer, so we keep our distance from Him. I wrote about this rock bottom principle in September 2011 and I am copying it here again so that you can know the extent of His desire to act for good in your life.
Lord, are you willing?
I do not pretend to understand the Lord’s will concerning healing. I’m pretty sure He does that on purpose so that I don’t reduce Him to a healing formula or magic genie. It means I have to approach Him as a person not a vending machine. This story from the Luke’s gospel is poignant in giving us a glimpse into what Jesus is like – not just about healing, but how He thinks about us and how we can think about Him. Here’s the story:
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
It seems to me that too many times in our culture and in our churches we are taught to claim what is ours, to assertively lay hold of our “rights” to get what we “deserve.” Churches teach us to claim our healing, to claim our prosperity, to claim whatever we want. God has to give it to us right? After all we are His kids. How far we have strayed from the simple concept of falling before the Lord, completely unworthy, to implore Him to see if perhaps He would be gracious to grant us our request. Even as I write this that idea seems so foreign to me. But who are we to presume upon the Lord’s kindness to demand that He act according to our wishes? The leper in this story expressed humility. He knows his unworthiness. He realizes that he can make no claim on the Lord for healing. He does not come arrogantly or demanding. Instead he falls on his face and humbles himself as much as he can. Humility is simply recognizing that WE aren’t God and being willing to put ourselves in the right attitude toward the One who is.
The story doesn’t end there and, in fact, gets much better. The leper never doubted Jesus’ ability to heal. His understanding of His power was clear. His faith was sure. The leper’s doubt centered instead on Jesus’ willingness to heal. Did Jesus care enough about him, as a man with nothing to offer in return, to heal him? No one else cared about him, why should Jesus?
So often we mask our own hurts, fears and insecurities when we come to the Lord. We ask Him, “Would you be willing to…?” When what we really mean is, “Do you care about me?” “Am I important enough for You to concern yourself with?” The true and deep cry of our soul is, “Lord, do you really love me?” We are all hurting people. We have all felt, like this leper – isolated from our friends, family and the world. Maybe we don’t need the physical healing this man did, but we may need an emotional or spiritual healing. Maybe we need a relationship to be healed.
The beautiful part of this story is that Jesus is willing. The answer this man receives went deeper than simply better skin condition. It said to him just how much Jesus did care. I guess, Jesus could have simply healed this man from a distance – He had done that before – and that would have been enough for the leper. Yet it wasn’t enough for Jesus. He wanted more for this man. Jesus actually touched him! And with that touch the man received a great deal more. Jesus was not repulsed by this man’s condition – whether skin condition or sin condition – anymore that He is with ours.
I believe that Jesus still can and does touch our lives in significant ways. It may not be physical healing, but it will be in a way that conveys to us individually and personally that He cares. In some ways, we have a much greater advantage than the leper in this story. We know now that Christ was willing not only to touch lives in a single moment of time in a faraway place, but took that necessary step – death – to change every aspect of our lives forever. We can always be assured of His unrestrained willingness to bring us to wholeness. So when we ask Him, “Lord, are you willing…?” The answer already is and always will be, “Yes, I love you.”