When I read about the leper in Matthew 8 I wept. I'm not completely sure why I had this response but it's true that often when the Holy Spirit speaks a profound truth, the center of my heart gets clipped to make room for more of God; simultaneously I experience relief and hope with pain.
The leper's desperation touched me. He came up to Jesus and prostrated Himself, worshiping. I think, "How gutsy is that?" I don't imagine that until we have authentically known life-consuming desperation we have a chance at relating to what the leper was feeling in that moment with Jesus. This poor man confessed that through and through he was a leper with no hope for any part of his life without a move of compassion from God's heart. He was literally decaying. He confessed his need so adamantly even his physical body had to express his heart's pleading and he laid down in front of Jesus on the ground.
The reasons I struggle against intimate closeness with Jesus are many. One reason I can see in part today (thank God!): my heart still remains unsure that Jesus is willing to heal me, or even able for that matter. I say, "God forgive me" and He does.
This leper is quickly becoming one of my heroes because he says to Jesus, "Lord, if you are willing, You are able to cleanse me by completely (italics mine) curing me."
Then the precious, perfect Man-God we call Jesus reaches out His hand and touches the leper and says, "I AM WILLING; BE CLEANSED by being cured."
In the middle of recession, He is willing. In the middle of a thousand physical ailments that seem to press upon us relentlessly, He is able. Enveloping our cold, dead hearts He is our preservation against decay. There is still time, there is still hope. Will we throw the desperate leper inside us on the ground in front of our Savior? Can we offer up our last mustard seed to God, determining to call Him willing and able? I can and today, by the grace of God, I will.