BIBLE TEXT: A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. –Matthew 8:2-3
PERSONAL REFLECTION: Upon hearing this scripture used in a sermon last Sunday, along with other messages relating to the topic, it triggered a memory of my past. In my Christian walk, I’ve noticed something over these many years: the more your faith increases, the more the Spirit will move and provide opportunities to move. I’m not saying that God doesn’t prompt every Christian at various stages of their Christian walk, but in my case, as an immature Christian, I didn’t hear the inner voice as clear, if at all. The more I’m in the word, the louder the voice. The more I pray, the louder the voice. The more I’m willing, the louder the voice. I can still remember the first time vividly.
On a Friday morning, about five years ago, I was awakened with a phone call from my mom. In a nutshell, my uncle had been taken to the emergency room during the early morning with an irregular heartbeat. The last information she had was that if the heart wasn’t back to its normal rhythm by 10 a.m., the doctors were going to shock it in an attempt to regain its regularity. She told me just to be praying. Well, being half asleep, I said a quick prayer and started to prepare myself for my regular work day. I got so busy with my regular routine that I basically forgot about my uncle’s situation.
As someone that is in the service industry, a lot of days are cram packed and sometimes you can lose track of time. On this day, it was stop after stop, trying to get through in time to pick up my daughter at school. I was about two stops from being finished when I happened to look at the last couple tickets for the day. I saw the name on the first ticket and then my eyes looked towards ticket number two. The name was Charlie Daniels. Yes, the world famous country music legend, Charlie Daniels. Immediately, the Voice said, “Not only will Charlie be there, but I want you to pray for him.” I immediately laughed and said sarcastically, “Ok, God, if he’s there, I’ll pray for him.” In my mind, I knew full well that in the two years that I’d been going to his house that his property manager never allowed me on the property if he was home.
I got to the call box on the gate at the end of his driveway and pushed the button, expecting to hear the female voice of the property manager just like the previous twenty to thirty times before. Except this time it wasn’t a female voice; it was Charlie. My adrenaline started flowing at the same time the blood started rushing from my face. That half-mile trek up that driveway couldn’t have been longer. I was freaking out. Am I really going pray for Charlie Daniels the very first time I meet him? He’s going think I’m some kind of nut. I got to the front door of the house and the property manager met me outside and said, “I don’t want you doing that today with Charlie being home.” I respectfully told her that I understood and started to walk off, but when she turned to go back in the door I turned around and said, “Can I ask you something? Are you a Christian?” and before she could answer I followed up with, “Or do you go to church?” She said, “Yes.” I then told her about what happened and asked if I could pray for Charlie, if possible. She told me that she’d see what she could do. Well, “seeing what she could do” wasn’t about giving them a head’s up about the Christian nut walking around their property but instead about getting permission for me to come in the house.
I finished what I was there to do without actually coming across Mr. Daniels until the very end of my routine. He said, “How’s it going?” I said, “Good, but (a little pause here, I’m sure it was only a couple seconds but felt like an hour) God told me that you were going to be here today and that I was supposed to pray for you.” Immediately, Charlie said, “Get over here and do what God told you to do.”
Walking towards him, I realized I was only worried about how I was going to pray for him, not what I was going to pray. It was probably the most nerve-racking prayer that I’ve ever prayed. I left there with a handshake and the thought that I’d never be back on that property again. As I’m driving back down the driveway, trying to get myself back together, my phone rang. My mom tells me that, just then, at 10 a.m. my uncle’s heartbeat had gone back to normal, without the shock. I just sat at the end of Charlie Daniels driveway and cried. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that because I was willing, God acted. God saw the whole picture, and I was blindsided until the end.
The Spirit has spoken to me several times since, and I have several stories to share. Most were extremely awkward to my flesh, but when I see the spiritual results, I know that those rewards can’t compare to the little bit of awkwardness you feel when stepping out and becoming willing.
I pray that I always respond to that still, small voice.
PRAYER: God, help me every day to set aside my flesh, my pride, and my way of thinking so that the Spirit, your Spirit, can lead and guide my steps without reservation. I may or may not ever know your plan completely, but I am not called to understand. I am only asked to be willing.
Lord, I am willing. Amen
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew has been attending Life Assembly for three years, which is where he met his beautiful wife, Rebecca. They have two kids together; Haylee and Elijah. Before coming to Life, Andrew attended Lebanon First Assembly of God where he served as youth pastor, advisory committee member, board member, Sunday school teacher, and praise team member. He loves to travel and hang out with family. In his spare time, he has written several Christian songs and is presently working on a set of novella books geared towards the jr. high level reader, with the first to be released early fall of 2012. His “real” job is the owner/operator of Best Pest Control in Lebanon, and has been since its inception in 2000.