Tuesday, June 18, 2013

All or Nothing

I've been going through the book of Matthew in the mornings, and one of the stories just popped out at me today. Matthew mentions a woman in chapter 9 that had been suffering for 12 years with a blood discharge that had been incurable. In her context, chronic bleeding would have made her "unclean" and she would have been excluded from normal social and religious functions.

Sickness and isolation.

12 long years. Then, we read in the other Gospels that she had spent her wealth going to different physicians who tried unsuccessfully to find a cure. Can you imagine how hopeless her situation was?

After bleeding for 12 years, I can't help but think that this woman was surely anemic at this point.

The fatigue that anemia brings feels like hundred pound weights attached to every part of your body where doing absolutely anything is exhausting.

When I was at my worst, I couldn't sit up in a chair. It was too exhausting. I lost my drive to do anything, and resting was still tiring. During those down days, I didn't go anywhere, because I knew I wouldn't have the energy and strength to get back from my destination. It was isolating and felt hopeless.

Photo by Ruth Livingstone courtesy of stock.xchng
I relate to this woman. I am so thankful that God spared me 12 years of waiting for relief. Two years were tough enough. The story goes on to tell us as we piece it together through reading the accounts in the Gospels that this woman heard about Jesus, sought him out, and pushed through a crowd to touch the hem of His garment.

The energy she expended to get to Jesus demonstrates her faith. 

This was an all or nothing moment for her. Either she was going to meet the Master and find healing or there was nothing left for her. I love that Scripture goes on to tell us that Jesus knew the moment "she" touched Him. He felt power leave Him, and upon seeing her He said, "Take heart, daughter, your faith has made your well (Mt. 9:22)." At that moment, she was well.

In this life, we all face things that are too big for us.

It may not be an illness.  It could be the death of a child or an irreconcilable relationship that makes our hearts ache for heaven.  While our faith in Jesus may not provide the physical relief or the relational healing we hope for (clearly, not every person who has faith is healed or relieved of their difficult circumstances), we will not be disappointed when we leave this world to pursue our Savior.  It's all or nothing.  When we have faith and reach out to Him, Jesus will look at us and say, "Take heart, child, your faith has made you well."

Indeed, it will be well for us.  

Illness, heartache, broken dreams, and shattered realities will be only a vapor as we realize that all we really needed was not the healing we pressed forward for in a moment of desperation. No, what our souls really longed for was Jesus Himself. In Jesus, we, who have nothing to offer, have gained all and lost nothing. Any heartache this world can bring cannot compare with the joy to come.

Indeed, dear believer, it is well for us.

"And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.(Matthew 9:20-22, ESV)"

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