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Saturday, July 30, 2011

If you wanna!

1-2 Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, "Master, if you want to, you can heal my body."
(Matthew 8:1-2)

How many of us approach God in prayer much in the same manner this leper did that day?  We might fall on our knees, or assume some other position of petition, and then lay it out as, "Ummmm.....God, if you might wanna, maybe, could ya...."  I am not immune to the, "God, do ya think ya might...", kind of prayers.  I sometimes find myself asking God in a "round-about" manner for exactly what it is that I want.

Somehow, we have learned that we cannot be forthright with God about our needs, fears, hopes, etc.  We have developed a skill of "sugar-coating" them, or not even presenting them to him at all.  Either way, we are denying God exactly what he wants to do!  God is all about taking care of us - not meeting every one of our "wants", but certainly meeting our "needs".  

Jesus' immediate response back to the leper was a hearty, "You betcha, I wanna!"  The man was made instantly whole again - no sign of his leprosy!  I wonder just how much time we allow to go by with unmet spiritual, emotional, and physical needs simply because we don't lay it out there before God.  When we are honest with God, he has a chance to be involved in our lives as he desires to be.

Let me just say that we may have a difficult time at first trying to decipher between our "wants" and our "needs".  Yet, if we are forthright about both to God, he will sort them out!  The leper had been living with a disease that separated him from his family, friends, and his worship.  His healing was more than physical - it restored him in so many ways.  Jesus did not look at this fellow and say, "Now, Mr. Leper Man, is this really a need?"  Nope, he saw the man's faith and he responded with a resounding, "I wanna!"

Here's the thing - if you "wanna" grow in your relationship with God, then he wants to help us grow.  If we "wanna" be free of our fears, then he wants us to help us develop the faith to trust him with what it is we are fearing.  If we "wanna" let go of unforgiveness, then he wants to see us out from the burden of carrying all that baggage.  If we "wanna" new SUV when the old one is still in awesome condition, God may not see that as a need at the moment - we already have something that is blessing us with faithful transportation right now.

So, isn't it time that we start laying it all out before God, allowing him to sort through the needs and the wants.  The desire of God's heart is that we come to him with the faith to give him what it is that is on our heart - those things that burden us, keep us bound, and chew up so much of our attention trying to "fix" or "live with".  He wants to meet our needs - we just have to "wanna" give them to him!