Why Does God Not Fix This?
Matthew 8:2-4 A leper came to him… saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus… touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
I can be a terminal whiner. Last night, on the drive home, as the slow pickup ahead of me sped up whenever I tried to pass, I got irritable. My hands clenched the steering wheel and I let out a few near-curse words. I almost prayed for a flat tire for that pickup before I realized I was being a little ridiculous.
In my self-focus, I expect the world to cater to my comfort and needs. I think that God should protect me from annoyances, illnesses and discomfort. That is his job right? He is in control and He loves me, so He should move that slow pickup from my path so I can get home sooner, right?
It is easy reading today’s passage to get the idea that Jesus’ purpose is to iron out all our wrinkles in life. He met those who were hurting and He healed them. Three consecutive stories and three consecutive healings give the impression that He has the power and the desire to remove all of our discomforts.
Then I look at the lives of those around me and see the horrible things they are going through. I have to ask God why. Are they not your children? If you are God and if you really do care, then why do you not heal their illness, addictions and miserable defects?
I have met, and you will too, those who read these verses and claim them. They insist that if they just believe hard enough that God wants to heal them, He has to. They quote such verses, believing they can twist God’s arm with his own words, forcing his will.
I of course, do not force God’s will and I misuse this story when I try. I think the leper had the correct approach. Lord, if you will, you can… I so often confuse my will for God’s will. I want a thing so badly that I assume God must want it as well. Then when it does not come to pass, I am frustrated with God.
My goal in life however, is not to be health, wealth and comfort. My purpose is to pursue God himself. The reality is, it is my discomfort and need that keeps me dependent on him. Seen in this light, I can embrace my need as it keeps me looking to God. If He made me perfect and pain-free tomorrow, I would be thankful but soon I just would not need him anymore.
When sick or hurting, we all want God to heal us. It is not wrong to ask God for this and He does heal at times. The reality is however, that we all exist in a state of decay. Our hope as Christians is not that all will be made perfect in this life but rather in the next. We all are broken in this defective flesh.
It is my brokenness and need that keeps me dependent on God. I often pray for God to fix my situation when I need to ask him to fix me. God may have the ability to remove all my discomfort but I think He is vastly more interested in drawing me into a right relationship with him.
So, I can use even that slow pickup to turn me to God. Instead of praying for the flat tire, I can ask that God teach me patience. As in all things, I need to constantly turn from self to God.