Human nature loves to find the easy way through life. Whether we are looking for increased financial gain, losing weight, healing from physical or psychological torment, or getting from point A to point Z, we simply want to find the “easy button” so we can skip the discomfort and just get there. But we learn so much in the waiting and the discomfort.
In Mark 5:24-34 we find a story of a woman who had suffered for twelve long years with a bleeding problem. Historically, this woman was likely banned from society, deemed unclean, and forced to live much of her time on the outskirts of town, away from family friends, and other people. She also would have been banned from the temple, making her feel disconnected from God.
Think of this life for a moment. She was living in chronic pain, likely chronically tired, and chronically lonely. Scripture also says that she had seen many physicians but none could help her. If anyone had reason to be discouraged, she definitely fits the requirements.
In spite of all of her obstacles she found courage to keep pressing towards hope. She found the courage to pursue another possibility of healing. Of course on the other side of possible hope is also the possibility of another disappointing blow. What if she couldn’t find Jesus? What if he couldn’t heal her? What if the rumors of his miracles were false? But her questions did not stop her from pressing on.
She found the strength to make what may have been a long journey into town, to the place where Jesus was. I would imagine the journey was hard, possibly even painful. Even when she saw that he was surrounded by people, and that she couldn’t get through, she did not give up her courage. There was not easy button for her, she just kept pressing through the difficulty, holding onto her hope in Jesus.
From the description in the account, I imagine the crowd being packed like sardines around Jesus. The picture I get as I read this is that the woman crawled through the crowd, and stretched her hand out as far as she could, and then barely touched the hem of his garment with just the tips of her fingers. Scripture says immediately she felt his power surge through her and she was healed.
I tell this story because the last few Sundays, in our Zoom church meetings, we have talked about the exhaustion of life. This world feels like it is going crazy.
We are in a pandemic that has disrupted everything about the way we used to do life. Even our holidays are different. There is a lot of economic disruption that leaves many of us uncertain of what the future holds. Even those of us who didn’t lose our jobs may eventually feel the trickle down effect in the next twelve months. Then the racial tensions began to rise and riots broke out. Politicians have not wasted these catastrophes to try to push their agendas.
Then there is life. In the midst of these difficult times real life does not stop. People are still having surgeries, heart attacks and strokes; family relational struggles are still struggling, home appliances are still breaking, and cars are still breaking down. Two days in a row I was out at a store, and saw some sort of disruptive drama play out for the world to see, and I have a client that caught a man and a woman getting into a physical altercation on tape. The world feels like it has gone crazy. It hasn’t been twelve years of discouragement, but some days it can feel like it, and there is no easy button to restore peace.
I find myself reading through my Bible time as fast as I can without connecting to any words, just trying to get it “over with”. I feel unmoved when I pray. What I realized last week is that I needed to reach out and touch Jesus and stop talking about it. I have been saying how spiritually dry I feel, but I have not quieted myself, settled in, and truly allowed my mind to go to a place of worship.
The second part of the story with the woman is her personal encounter with Christ. See, she touched him physically, but because of her faith she was healed, and then he touched her soul by seeing her. When we reach out for Jesus, He returns the effort by touching and healing our soul. If you are feeling as weary as I am, I would like to invite you to settle into a place of worship. Quiet yourself before the Lord and let him respond to your soul.
Olive Chapel would like to invite you to come worship with us as we begin to re-open our doors on July 12. Our services begin at 10:00 AM, EST. If you have any questions feel free to call. 574-654-3615