And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.Matthew 8:2-3
Dealing with the Lord is so different from dealing with one another. For example, I am always hesitant to ask anyone for a favor. At best, I feel like I am imposing on them; at worst, I feel like I am taking advantage of a relationship, because there may never be a time that I can return the favor.
With Christ, the dynamics are different. Years ago, I was lying in an ICU unit in a coma, with an actual one-in-a-million chance of survival. My wife was distraught and desperate for a miracle. The problem was, three years earlier, two of my daughters and I were involved in an epic car accident that should have killed all of us. Back then she prayed for a miracle to save us. That miracle came. But this time, she felt that it was too much to ask for another miracle. It would be an imposition on God and an unfair request, given all of the good people who don’t receive miracles that they desperately need.
A sister in our ward was with her in the hospital waiting room and lovingly rebuked her. She reminded her that she has been commanded to ask for help when she needs it, and that God is able to provide more than one miracle per person. My wife realized that her job was to ask. The Lord could decide what would happen. So she asked. And, after a couple of weeks and a couple of flat lines, I woke up.
Blessings are not an imposition on God. When the leper approached Jesus he had two questions rolled into one. Certainly he wanted to be healed. But beyond that, he needed to know whether Jesus wanted to heal him. Thus he asked, “if thou wilt…” The answer from Jesus was immediate and direct: “I will.” In King James English, “wilt” operates like a contraction for “will it,” and Jesus’s answer indicated not what he was going to do, but what he desired to do. Thus these two short versus teach us an eternal truth about our Savior: He wants to help us.
Knowing this provides us comfort and confidence. How much easier is it to face trials when we know that the Lord wants what we want? Mortality is not a tug of war between our wills and God’s. In truth, Christ is on our side of the rope, pulling for us with strength that we never could match.
The New Testament is full of people who seemed to impose on Jesus while looking for a miracle. Whether it was a woman touching His clothing in the press of a mob of people, a Roman Centurion asking for the healing of a child who was not of the covenant, or people pulling the roof off a house to gain access to Him. In all these cases Christ made no complaint, nor did he chide those seeking His aid. Instead, each time e expressed His love for them and made them whole.
Regardless of our circumstances, there is no situation in which the Savior would tell us not to ask for help, even miraculous help. To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, Og Mandino, God is the creator of the universe and all that is in it. What is a miracle to Him?
When we feel we are beyond the reach of Christ’s mercy and grace and unworthy of the help we need, may we hear His voice telling us, “I will,” and then invite Him to make us whole.
Much like the leper, we can find strength and comfort in this life by accepting His will and knowing that He wants to bless us. We can find the strength to face any challenge, to overcome temptations, and to understand and endure our difficult circumstances.Walter F. Gonzalez