Do you make this same mistake I sometimes do when approaching God? Sometimes I imagine that God is reluctant to my need, and that my prayer needs to be a catchy sales pitch to get Him to agree! Luke 8:40-48 tells the story of a desperate woman, her one request, and a much-needed glimpse into the heart of our generous Father.
I don’t know how she ever have the strength to shove her way through this mass of humanity and reach Him. Years of hemorrhaging had left her weak. Twelve years, to be precise. Society had furthered the work that sickness had begun, making sure she felt the stigma of her condition. At this point, it would be hard to say which aspect was more debilitating. The doctors had taken all her money, but had delivered nothing but empty promises. Now there was nothing left…nothing except the one desperate plan that haunted her every waking moment, and even her dreams at night.
When she heard the shout of His name from somewhere down the dusty street, she knew that this day she had to try. It may take every ounce of energy she could muster, but she knew deep within her being that He could help her. If only the people wouldn’t stop her. “Unclean”, they called her. When they saw her pushing past them, there would be a scene she had been hoping to avoid. If she could only keep her head down, and not be recognized, then perhaps no one would notice she was breaking the rules to get to Jesus. If only she could approach Him alone!
By the time she reached the edge of the crowd that was already surrounding Him and began to worm her way through, a man named Jairus was pleading with Jesus to have his little dying daughter healed, and it appeared that Jesus was agreeing to go heal her. He had just arrived, and already He was leaving! The crowd around Him became so tightly packed in their excitement that He was almost crushed. The jostling and shouts and smells were overwhelming.
There! As the crowd shifted direction, she saw it. An opening! It was small, but then so was she. With one last desperate shove, Scripture says “she came up behind Him…”. She didn’t need to stop or bother Him, and certainly didn’t want to attract any attention. She just needed to touch Him. Would she be knocked down? If she missed…well, that was not an option.
But she didn’t miss. Her faith made contact with the One so worthy of it, and she was gloriously, instantly, verifiably healed.
Then the last thing she wanted or expected happened. Jesus stopped walking. He knew. “Who touched me?” He asked immediately. A truly laughable question, under the circumstances. Peter was incredulous at the question; everyone was touching Him! No one admitted to being the one; but God had so much more in store for this woman than physical healing. There would be no creeping away, unnoticed. He wanted her restored in every sense of the word. She saw there was nothing to do but confess, and give up the blessed anonymity she had so fervently hoped would shield her. She came and fell trembling at His feet, in front of everyone…everyone who knew her as “unclean” and what her touching Jesus meant.
But Jesus was not made unclean by her touch; she was made whole by His.
He commended her faith. Jesus found that kind of faith noteworthy – noteworthy enough to stop a moving throng, and to delay his arrival to heal Jairus’ daughter. His gentle words to the one trembling at His feet communicated that she was known, accepted, and pleasing to Him: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace”.
God wasn’t reluctant to meet her need! She asked for physical healing, but He gave her much more than what she asked for.
Of all the people thronging about Him, pressing Him from every side, only one person’s touch warranted His attention. Only one person’s touch was significant to Jesus, because only one person’s touch was an act of faith that drew power from Him. Who will touch Jesus today with a faith that brings the Kingdom of Heaven into their situation? Will you be that one? One who not only asks, but asks believing? What do you need from Him today? In what area of your life have you completely run out of options unless Jesus shows up?
May your faith be strengthened today to believe God for the wonderful things He
wants to do in and through you, and to patiently wait on His timing.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
With faith, hope, and love,
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