Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:1-3)
“Lord, if you are willing….” Does that phrase sound familiar to you? It certainly does to me. I’m glad to see that I am not the only who prays it. “Lord, if you are willing, you can take this difficult circumstance away. Lord, if you are willing you can heal this cancer. Lord, if you are willing you can reconcile this broken relationship. Lord, if you are willing, you can help me find the right job. Lord, if you are willing, you can provide for our financial needs. Lord, if you are willing, you can bring back my wayward child.” The list is endless, it seems.
And the answer we get often seems to be different than the one given to the leprous man. But what we always need to remember is that Jesus is willing. Oh maybe he is not always willing give us what we think we need (or want) at any given moment, but he is always willing to give us himself—which is ultimately what we want the most anyway. Even if he is not willing to “take this cup from us” whatever this cup may be, it is only because he has learned firsthand that ultimately God’s will is the one most likely to move us in the direction of who he wants us to become and who he wants us to understand him to be. He is always willing to form us more and more into his image—which is exactly what we were created for. He is always willing to draw near to us when we are brokenhearted. He is always willing to work out what is most in line with his glory, and our ultimate benefit in the long run (see Romans 8:28). And he is always willing to give us his love, which more than we could ever ask for or dream about, but which might come in a rather painful disguise from time to time. He is willing.