Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)
We continue to read through Matthew, the boys and I, and this morning’s very short story had a gem I wanted to share. We only read about two paragraphs or so a day. Enough to get a story to talk about together. And today’s was your run-of-the-mill miracle (if there could be such a thing), but there was a short phrase that even our seven-year-old picked up on that must be heard and understood. It is the thing I so often will miss, and the thing that so clearly reveals the heart of our Father.
As Jesus came down the mountain, he was followed by large crowds. Suddenly a man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus. He said, “Lord, you have the power to make me well, if only you wanted to.” Jesus put his hand on the man and said, “I want to! Now you are well.” At once the man’s leprosy disappeared. (Matthew 8:1-3)
The part that I so often miss is that Jesus wants to. I am the man who has a sickness, or a problem, or something I can not handle on my own. I come to Jesus and kneel before him, knowing he is more than capable of handling my problems. He is far greater than anything that could trouble me. But the issue is not knowing his greatness, it’s understanding his willingness.
I’m like the leprous man who says, “If you want to…” So often my lack of faith is not in the power or ability of God. Rather, if I lack faith, it is my lack of faith in his willingness or desire to help me. Who am I to deserve such favor with God? Why would he want to help me?
Jesus’ response is incredible. Simple. And so full of what I am learning is the heart of our Father.
“I want to!”
We will often quote from the first chapter in Ephesians where it talks about God’s plan to redeem us. To give his own life for us, so that through Jesus we would be holy and blameless, without fault in God’s eyes. The plan involved pain, suffering and even death. And yet, before anything was created, God cooked up this scheme and Paul says that it “gave him great pleasure.”
For me, this is key. God does not love us because he has to. (Being Love, he could conceivably love us out of duty, or obligation.) Instead, he loves us because he wants to. How amazing.
I hope you hear Jesus’ words today, and the next time you are speaking with him about something that troubles you. Try not to worry about whether or not it’s important to him, or if he even wants to help you, or listen. I think we already have his answer from this story in Matthew.
His answer is, “I want to!”