While Jesus was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. – Luke 5:12-16 [ESV]
I play a little game at one particular piece of road near where I live. It’s a “Will I get a Signal” game. The piece of road is notorious for people who make a turn in the left lane trying to sneak in front of those who make that same turn from the right lane. It’s a two-turn-lane intersection, so the proper way to make the transition – if you want to be truly proper – is to turn left from the right lane, so you can then make the next turn to the right in a matter of 2 blocks. Confusing? Well here’s the not-confusing part. I will gladly let someone in front of me if they turn on their turn signal, indicating their desire to get into “MY LANE.” If not… well, It is a race. And I do own the road!
But I digress. I am willing to let someone in. I am able to do it too; I need only to slow down a bit and make room for the driver seeking entry into my lane.
Is it that easy for Jesus to heal the sick? Raise the dead? Still the storm? Give sight to a blind man? I’m not sure, but I suspect it’s not too difficult. Jesus is God in the flesh. He shows that from time to time by his miracles. If he can raise the dead, he surely can heal a man full of leprosy. The question is whether he is willing to do so.
This is the question we, too, must ask when we pray. Jesus teaches us to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Luther explains, “The good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer. But we pray in this petition that it may be done among us…” (Luther’s Small Catechism, the Lord’s Prayer)
I believe it is God’s will to heal. In every single case. Every. Single. Case. I base that on God’s expressed will that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. And in heaven there is no sickness, illness, disease, death, or sin of any kind. So it’s not a matter of if God wills someone to be healed. It’s a matter of when…and of faith. I’ll talk about that more tomorrow.
So the matter of timing still remains. And I notice how Jesus would “withdraw to desolate places and pray.” I’m thinking that at least part of that prayer was to discern God’s will for the timing of his miracles. How did Jesus discern it was time? He did so by spending time with his Father in prayer.
I wonder if I might have a greater insight about God’s healing, timing, and will if I were to spend more time in prayer. Oh well…no I don’t wonder. I’m certain I would.