If You Will, You Can

A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said,

‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’”  Matthew 8:2

The man with leprosy made two amazing claims in this verse. Jesus holds the power to heal — “you can”— and to decide to heal —“if you will.”

For me, believing Jesus can heal comes easily. Growing up in the church laid a solid foundation in my heart. God created all things. God took on human flesh to reveal himself to us. God raised Jesus from the dead. Since God can raise the dead, no problem in my life — physical, emotional, or relational — supersedes his power. My struggle comes in believing he will. So, the leper’s “if you will” arrests my attention.

Sometimes, for reasons beyond our comprehension, God chooses not to heal. For too many years, I resisted prayers that asked God for healing or specific things. Instead, I tried to figure out his plan and only ask for things that he would say yes to. I wanted control.

Clearly, arrogance stood in the way of belief. Refusing to ask God, unless I knew he would say yes, meant denying his complete authority over my life. I failed to acknowledge the truth that God gets to decide.

So, I ask, like a child who trusts her loving father, “If you will, you can.”

Trust requires humility. Asking admits need. Expressing our deepest desire leaves us vulnerable. By seeking a specific outcome, we risk disappointment.

Yet, we do not need to doubt God’s goodness. Righteous, loving, and merciful, God always does what brings about our good and his glory, though we may not see it immediately. So ask.

Father forgive my arrogance and my attempts to control you. I submit to your rule in my life. You can do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine. You are good. Teach me to ask with both humility and confidence. Amen.

By Suzanne Benner
Used by Permission

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