[reprinted from April 28, 2011]
In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She had gone to many doctors, and they had not done anything except cause her a lot of pain. She had paid them all the money she had. But instead of getting better, she only got worse.
The woman had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him in the crowd and barely touched his clothes. She had said to herself, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.” As soon as she touched them, her bleeding stopped, and she knew she was well. Mark 5:25-29 (CEV)
I love this story. It is one that no matter how many times I read it, I get tears in my eyes and, unconsciously, bow my head.
Here is a woman, that alone in her society makes her ‘less than’, who has been ill, very ill, for 12 years. She has been ill in such a way that has isolated her from her family, friends, and neighbors. She is like a leper but she doesn’t even have a ‘colony’ of like-people with whom she can associate. No one can be around her because she is unclean. If that wasn’t bad enough, she has spent all her money on every powder, incantation, prayer, and quack that might help her. She is destitute, maybe even suicidal at this point.
In those days, the homes did not have windows. Maybe she heard people outside her home talking about this Jesus who had “healed many” (Mark 3:10), set a demon-possessed man free(and killed some pigs!), and calmed storms on the Sea of Galilee. And she is desperate. She has no other options. Going out into a crowd like she did was inciting the crowd to stone her for contaminating them. But she takes the chance.
I believe it is desperation that is the perfect catalyst for faith that Jesus will respond. Do I really believe? Am I desperate? It is not the beauty of my prayer that brings a response from Jesus. It is not the perfection of my life that makes me worthy of His response. It is the cry of my heart. It is my weakness; my inability to do anything that brings Jesus’ response of compassion and extravagant love.
Not all of us who have cried out to God received the answer that we desperately wanted. Only God can answer my “Why” questions. Only God can judge my heart; my prayers.
God’s answers are in His plan and in His timing. As I spend time with Him, our lives come closer together and I hear His voice and see His heart. My spirit grows in His Spirit. My spiritual sight begins to become sharper. The ‘dark mirror’ that Paul spoke (1 Corinthians 13:12) becomes lighter as I accept and bring the Light of Jesus closer.
Don’t punish me, LORD,or even correct me when you are angry!
Have pity on me and heal my feeble body.
My bones tremble with fear, and I am in deep distress. How long will it be?
Turn and come to my rescue. Show your wonderful love and save me, LORD.
If I die, I cannot praise you or even remember you.
My groaning has worn me out. At night my bed and pillow are soaked with tears.
Sorrow has made my eyes dim, and my sight has failed because of my enemies. Psalm 6:1-7 (CEV)
Cry out to God today. As Jesus told Thomas, “Stop doubting and believe!” Jesus’ hands will be there waiting for your hand. His ears are already tuned to your voice. His heart already sees and hears your heart. Allow Him to dry your tears and pick you up when you are too tired and weak to do it for yourself. Do not listen to anyone but listen to the One.
From the Inside Out written by Joel Houston & sung by Hillsong