Often overlooked, but overflowing with significance, is one of the first encounters Jesus has after a band of disciples began to follow him. The incident involved a man with leprosy. The exchange basically goes like this:
"Jesus, if you decide you want to, you are able to cleanse me from this disease," said the man with leprosy.
"Oh my friend, I have decided and I choose to do exactly that," said Jesus.
This exchange is one of my favorite in all of scripture. It exposes the vulnerability of the man asking and the tenderness of the man responding. It demonstrates Jesus’ "want to" side. And it shows the new disciples exactly the type of man they have chosen to follow. Not just a man with powerful words and insightful teaching, but a man with a tender touch and a willingness to meet the needs of individuals, not just society – as they may have expected.
The amazing thing about this account is the "want to" of Jesus. I forget about that some times when I am praying or simply living my life. I lose sight of how he wants me to meet my needs, he wants to see me grow, he chooses to come along side through the Holy Spirit and guide me.
I think at times I approach God not truly confident there is a "want to" side. That somehow I must convince or cajole. That my roles is to plead my case instead of simply saying, "If You choose to, you can…"
There is not magic formula for understanding the "want to" of God. In fact, I suspect, it is not as difficult as me make it out. We are all lepers. We are all in need of healing. We are all isolated from our community in some form or another. Some may enjoy that situation and have there own personal pity party. Others of us can choose to approach God’s throne and say, "God, if you want to, you can…." and believe that