God Desires to Heal
“I will, be thou clean.”
God overflows with mercy. His mercy fills heaven to the brim. At any minute, it may pour out into our lives, when we are ready to ask.
“Behold, there came a leper and worshiped 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” (Matthew 8:1-3).
The meaning in Christ’s response is lost in English. Θέλω does not mean ‘I will’ so much as ‘I desire.’ Our Lord is not merely consenting to heal the leper. He is declaring that it is his delight to heal. It is his pleasure to comfort and save.
What was going on in our Lord’s heart? Can you imagine the look in Jesus Christ’s eyes, as he gazed into the eyes of the leper. He did not see a cripple. He did not see a vagabond. He saw a person, beneath the disease. He saw a child of God, beneath the filth. He looked on this man with no less love and familiarity as a father does his own son. Mercy burned in his heart.
“I desire to heal you.”
In this way, Jesus Christ looks into our hearts. He knows that we are broken. He hears our justifications and whining. He knows all about our hypocrisy and selfishness. But what does he see? He sees his son. He sees his daughter. He looks at you and me with love, genuine love and personal love. Our Lord looks down at us as he looked down at this leper. Through all the filth and dysfunction, he looks in our eyes and says, “I desire to heal you.”
God’s mercy is never dried up.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
God’s mercy is more powerful than our sin and foolishness.
St. Isaac the Syrian says: “Just as a strongly flowing spring is not obscured by a handful of dust, so the mercy of the Creator is not stemmed by the vices of His creatures.”
God stands before us and offers mercy.
Why do we not always feel God’s mercy? This poor leper was healed, but what about all the other lepers? If Christ desired to heal so earnestly, why not heal every cripple. Why not cure every wound, fix every problem, and put an end to all dysfunction in the world?
First and foremost, God desires to heal. He wants to fix our brokeness. God does not have a limited supply of mercy. We are the ones that block him. We cut off His will and deter his healing.
Salvation would never have been possible, were it not for the faithful virgin Mary: “Be it done unto me according to thy will.” The leper would never have been cured, if he did not have the determination and humility to say, “I am helpless. Help me.” God waits for us to open ourselves to His mercy.
“κύριε εάν θέλης δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι” (Matthew 8:2).
“Lord, if you desire it, you have the power to make me clean.”
The leper recognized two things: his powerlessness and God’s powerfulness. He truly understood that there was nothing he could do to help himself. He comprehended the depth of his brokeness and the urgency of his need. On top of it all, he recognized what Jesus Christ was capable of doing.
How much faith do we have? How much do we genuinely desire to be changed, not just modified, but put to death, crushed, and transformed? Can we look up at Christ, as this leper looked to him, and say in our heart, “Lord, you have the power to make me clean.” God looks at us with overwhelming mercy, waiting, desiring that we ask for his help.
There is a further reason why we may not feel God’s mercy. The mercy God pours on us is not always the kind of mercy we want. Oftentimes, God’s mercy is painful. The root of our sickness runs so deep, that it is not always easy to let it go. It must be extracted, and the extraction is painful.
“Blessed is the man,” St Nikolai Velimirovich teaches, “who uses his sufferings, knowing that all suffering in this brief life is loosed on men by God in His love for mankind, for the benefit and assistance of men…God gives healing through suffering. Suffering is God’s way of healing the soul of its sinful leprosy.”
Healing comes from God. We must trust Him.
God is merciful. There is nothing we can do so sinful that it cannot be forgiven. No matter how much baggage we carry around, no matter what we have done or what has been done to us, God will not turn away his face to anyone who desires mercy. There is no spiritual leprosy so pungent, that God cannot cure. With unspeakable compassion, he waits for us to ask it: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”