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Lord, If You Are Willing

Leprosy is used throughout the Bible to refer to a number of horrible skin diseases. In those days, leprosy was often fatal and most saw it as a sign that you were cursed by God. Lepers were run out of town and banished from communicating with their loved ones. Jewish law required lepers to wear head coverings and shout ‘Unclean, Unclean!’ whenever someone came near.

When the leper in Luke 5 saw Jesus, there was hope for life again. He understood that while Jesus could cure his disease, He wasn’t under any obligation to do so. The man tells Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus didn’t heal every sick person He met. Witness His walk through the pool at Bethesda where “a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.” There, in John 5, Jesus singled one guy out and healed him.

The attitude of the man in Luke 5—the heart that says, “Lord, if you are willing”—comes from the recognition that Jesus is Lord and we are not. I have a friend who has been sick for years. He’s a godly man who loves his wife and children. But he has been sideswiped by an illness that leaves him in constant pain, unable to work and with no foreseeable way out. He and I have prayed to Jesus, “If you are willing, you can heal.” But up to this point, Jesus has had other plans for my friend. Jesus’s power isn’t any less effective. His compassion and love for my friend is unchanging, but for reasons known only to Himself, Jesus has chosen to let this illness rage on.

Sometimes, Jesus draws us closer through healing. Sometimes, He draws us closer by allowing the pain. In what situations do you need to be brave enough to pray, “Lord, if you are willing”?

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