And a leper came to Jesus, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter. – Mark 1:35-45
It is quite one thing to believe that God can do a great work in your life. It is quite another to believe that he will do it. Therein lies the rub. We may have no doubt that God works in people’s lives, that he is able to orchestrate the happenings of everything from the flight of a sparrow to the fall of a nation. We believe that God upholds the world with the might of his power. But when someone prays that they be spared from a natural disaster the wicket gets a bit more sticky! What is the dividing line between faith and denial of reality? There is a difference between praying “Thy will be done” in faith, and praying it in resignation: “Thy will be done…and it’s probably not going to be answering this prayer.”
It all has to do with time. For the believer there will be a perfect healing, release, and resolution to all troubles on the Great Last Day. All disease will be cured; all discord resolved. Every vestige of sin will be utterly consumed. So when we pray, “If you will, you can make me well,” we know it is God’s will. The issue is not if but when. Perhaps our prayers could be a bit less ambivalent if we prayed for a foretaste of the perfect healing and wholeness that is the fullness of God’s rule and reign, asking for our needs to be met now.
The time was at hand when Jesus walked the earth. He was the incarnation of Gods’ rule and reign. He sent his disciples on missions to manifest the presence of his rule and reign over all forces of sin, death, and the devil. Occasionally God lifts the veil here and now for us to see that in our time as well. One day we will see it in real time, and for all time. Until then, whenever we see God’s rule and reign in this world – whenever we experience God’s favor personally – we are free to tell others about it. In fact we will not be able to help it. It is in that moment that we see most clearly that not only can God act in our behalf, we have experienced the reality of his having done so. Thanks be to God for those glimpses of the glory that will one day be ours through Jesus Christ our Lord!