“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” – Matthew 8:2
Was this the first time this man came to the Lord for help? I can imagine that he probably cried out to God many times before. If that were the case, why would God have waited to heal this man of leprosy? Why would Jesus heal Him now? Was He cruel by waiting? These are questions only the Lord has the answers to. He says that His ways are not our ways and that as far as the heavens are from the earth, so are His thoughts from ours. I believe, however, that this example here gives us some hints as to why Jesus may have answered this prayer here.
We are not told if this leper ever prayed for healing before. If he did, we would not know what his prayer was for, exactly. It is possible that if he prayed at all, it was for healing so he could live a normal life, and who would no want that? Maybe he thought of all the activities he would be able to do again without this hindrance. It could be that is precisely how he prayed, “Lord, please heal me so I can have a companion again and travel the world!”
This time it would be different. He was at the end of self and finally prays, “Lord, if you are willing…” And Jesus’ response here is, “Yes!” The leper is healed completely and sent to the temple immediately. Why? It tells us, “as a testimony to them.” And, that is the key, isn’t it?
It could be that if healed when he wanted, and in his timing, the life this man would lead may have not been lived for the Lord. But now, he was in alignment with the Lord’s will, is cleansed, and his life is used as a testimony to others that they might come to know the Messiah Jesus. He had not prayed according to the Lord’s will.
Jesus is always right on time. Keep crying out and seeking Him, and He will bring you into alignment with His will and answer your prayers.
“Neglect of private prayer is the locust which devours the strength of the church. Your other engagements will run smoothly if you do not forget your engagement with God.” – Steve Miller on Spurgeon