Seek a relationship when you pray, not answers. You won’t always find answers, but you will always find Jesus.” Father Mike Schmitz
SCRIPTURE & DEVOTION: Mark 5: 21-43; focused on Mark 5:24-34 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
So much emotion in this story - embedded in another story. This is a "while you are going" story. While Jesus was walking a road with a desperate father, a desperate woman defies every social propriety of the day in order to get healing. She had suffered so much already and was desperate Always considered "unclean." Unable to participate in the normal rhythms of everyday life in that culture. She had tried everything. As someone who has had many more doctor appointments than I have ever had, whose healing is very slow - I can tell you how discouraged I would be if I was only getting worse instead of better. When you're dealing with a significant health issue, every single day can be different, and when there is no progress, discouragement and desperation become part of the battle as well.
Yet, somehow, somewhere she had heard of Jesus. She must have heard stories of others who had been healed. What did she have to lose? Sometimes life brings us to the point of sheer desperation. We have nowhere else to turn.
While we know that it is the power of God that heals, Jesus said that "her faith" had healed her. That is a paradox we struggle to understand. What is the interplay of our faith and the work of God?
NT Wright says this:"Humans were never meant to be mere spectators of God’s work, or mere passengers, being carried along into God’s future with their feet up. Humans were meant to participate, to worship God and so to be energized to live for him. And that begins with faith."
Faith in God - His goodness. His wisdom. Things don't feel good when we feel desperate -we learn to trust in His goodness. We don't feel wise as we walk through difficulty - we learn to trust in His wisdom.
During this Lenten season, may we be encouraged to live in faith, participating with God, worshiping Him and trusting in His plan & purpose for our lives.
When we are desperate, help us to focus on You - to turn to You. To reach out to touch You. To do whatever it takes to get close to You. We know that You have the words of eternal life. You are the One we need.