What is your heart’s desire? What do you want more than anything? There are probably many things that come to your mind as you consider these questions – some superficial and some profound. On a superficial level, I wouldn’t mind being taller. Most everyone I knew growing up was on the shorter end of the spectrum including my immediate family. My grandfather was 4 feet 11 inches tall. I now live in a city inhabited in large part by Dutch people who tend to be on the taller side. I have discovered that tall people don’t understand the perils and frustrations of being short. Take the frustration of clothes shopping for instance. Even petite sizes need to be shortened. The sleeves are so long they make one look like a Neanderthal. Grocery shopping becomes an adventure. There are items on that top shelf short people will never be able to purchase – that is unless a tall person takes pity on their vertically challenged brothers and sisters. The top shelves in cupboards at home are forever out of reach unless one is into mountain climbing. And have you ever noticed how short people sit on the edge of chairs? They have to if their feet are going to touch the floor. Then there is the risk of being a short person in youth ministry with tall Dutch kids. My nose and the arm pits of most teenage boys are at the very same level – enough said. Okay, no more complaining about my silly desire to be taller! It doesn’t do any good to complain. No matter how much my heart desires it, there is no doctor or miracle that can actually make me taller. It’s impossible to alter my gravitationally depressed state so I am going to choose to celebrate my diminutive status.
But what about the real needs – the deep, heart-felt needs that we’ve prayed for, worried about, or longed for? Where do we take these needs and desires? Is there anyone who can and will help us? The answer is a resounding, “YES!” The man with leprosy in Matthew 8:1-4 knew exactly where to go to get his deepest need and desire met. He was an untouchable, an outcast with a hideous disease that disfigured him and would eventually kill him. He needed to be healed and declared clean so he presented himself to Jesus. It’s important to notice what the leper said when he came to Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He didn’t say, “If you can.” He said, “If you are willing.” There is a huge difference between the two phrases. “I can,” implies the person responding has the ability, skill or power to affect change. “I will,” reflects the responder’s desire to help. He knew Jesus could – was able – to heal and cleanse him, but he didn’t know if Jesus was willing. In faith he made his bold request to the Son of God. I’m sure his heart was racing as he waited for a response. But then the leper felt Jesus touch his untouchable skin, he heard Jesus’ loving response, “I am willing. Be clean!”…..and his life was changed forever.
Try to put yourself in the leper’s place. Did he feel a tingling in his skin or sense the Spirit’s power healing him? Could he hear love and compassion in Jesus’ voice? What would it have been like to feel the hand of God touch you? I can’t begin to imagine how wonderful it was. I want to feel that – don’t you? Let’s learn from this leper and come to Jesus with our deepest desires and needs. Come in faith to the One who not only can give you your heart’s desire, but also delights in doing so. Come into His presence in prayer and boldly ask for whatever you need. Feel the gentle touch of the Lord’s hand on your unclean spirit. Hear His words of willingness and love. Experience the healing and cleansing you long for. Whatever your need, Jesus’ response is, “I am willing.”
- Do you need physical healing? Jesus says, “I am willing.”
- Is there a need for broken relationships to be restored? Jesus says, “I am willing.”
- Are you in need of having a burden of shame or guilt lifted from your soul? Jesus says, “I am willing.”
- Perhaps you are in need of forgiveness, or need the power to forgive someone else. Jesus says, “I am willing.”
- Are you facing overwhelming financial worries and need help making ends meet? Jesus says, “I am willing.”
- Are you in mourning and need comfort and help to endure? Jesus says, “I am willing.”
- Have you lost hope for the future because circumstances are so overwhelming? Jesus says, “I am willing.”
- Do you need direction about a path to take in life? Jesus says, “I am willing.”
- Do you have a burning desire to grow deeper in your relationship with God? Jesus says, “I am willing.”
Whatever your need, Jesus is willing and able to help you. He longs to touch your life with grace and mercy. He desires for you to be free and empowered – to know true joy, hope and peace.