Our readings today are I Samuel 24, Psalm 57, 58, I Chronicles 8, and Matthew 8. We are reading from the New Living Translation.
This leper had a question. Is God willing? Is God willing to reach out with hands of compassion, and touch him, and make him clean? I imagine you might have this same question. I think everyone has this question. Will God reach out to me, touch me, and make me clean? or will God keep his distance. The Roman officer had that question for his slave, is God willing to reach out with compassion and touch us? , the crowds lined up outside of Peter’s mother-in-law’s house, all the sick and demon-possessed -they all had that question too. Will God reach me with compassion and , heal me? Or will God keep his distance?
We all want to know whether God cares, whether he is compassionate and is willing to make up the distance, because we surely can't, to reach out and touch us? To make us clean? It’s a fair question.
It’s at the root of all of our questions. We are tempted to believe the negative, that God is not willing, to make up the distance. In fact religion has made a fortune selling us the lie of separation. The lie that God is separate from us, unwilling to make up the distance because of our uncleanness. Separation is a lie, God is not unwilling to reach out and touch us in our uncleanness, Jesus says, “I am willing” there is no separation. I am here right now. He is with you right now. He has already unmasked the lie of separation, and revealed to us what God is really like. God is with us, God is willing, God is compassionate, and God desires to set us free and make us clean.
But an answer to that question requires a willingness on our part, to enter into a relationship with God, with some measure of trust.
We have to bring our question to him. We can have that question but never really bring it to him. We can harbor it inside because we’re angry, afraid of the answer, or afraid of no answer. The only way to have a satisfactory answer is to trust him enough to approach him with our honest questions. What is your question? Do you want to know whether God will reach out and do something about it? Trust him enough to bring your question to him.
Jesus has a question for us, too. He wants to know if we plan on following him. Do you want to follow him and enter into a relationship with him, or do you just want to be healed, relieved of your trouble and go on with your life, without him? That too, is a fair question. It’s not that God is unwilling to do anything for us until we are willing to follow him. He’s not like that. He loves us even when we don’t love him. He loved us even when we are sinners. But it is a fair question, especially in light of the abuses God takes by those who think he is cruel when they don’t get what they want from Him when they want it. Jesus says, Follow me, now. So many, in the reading today, have excuses. They’re not ready to enter into a relationship with God.
I believe Jesus is ready to step into your life with healing and help. It might, or might not, be the physical healing, now, that you want. But there’s always healing with Him. You can count on that. Are you willing to enter into a relationship with Him? Are you willing to Follow Him in this life. – not just try to drag Him around with you whenever you feel the need for him? That’s a fair question, too. He invites us to do that, through His Word, and he offers that Living Word to us every day.