Some good news today ... I'm signing a contract for my next book, REACHING FOR WONDER, Encountering Christ When Life Hurts (that's the working title so far). I'm very excited to delve deeply into the one-time encounters with Christ in the New Testament and see what it really means to come face to face with Jesus in the hardest, most painful moments of our lives.
Here's a little excerpt from the beginning of chapter one, about one leper and his big "if." So, for anyone who has ever said "if" to God, you aren't alone ...
“If you want, you can make me clean.”
(also Matthew 8:1-4, Luke 5:12-16)
If. A tiny word. And yet it holds the world in its hands. If you want. If you are willing. You can make me clean. If ... that single word echoes in my soul, and I know we must start the journey here at if. Not if you can. Not if you have the power. Not even if I do it all right. If you are willing. Lord, are you willing to make me whole?
I look at the question spoken by this man with a skin disease, a disease that ostracized him from his community, that made him an outcast. I gaze at it long and hard and find there a mirror to my own doubts, my own fears.
I know God has the strength.
I know he can do anything.
But is he willing? Does he want to?
That’s the question that steals my breath, scratches at my faith.
So with trembling I begin this journey of encounter. I whisper, “Are you willing, Jesus, to heal me too? Even me, even now. Is your love enough?” Is it enough to conquer my “if”?
And the leper’s story calls out to me, beckons me closer, whispers of a hope in the storm of doubts, of despair, of disappointments.
I take one step toward the leper. I take a step toward his fear. In his healing, can I find my own? Will I see that the question is not so much if Christ is willing, but if I am…