Friday, September 26, 2014

Hands of Faith

I have always loved the story found in Mark 5:21-43, Matthew 9:18-26, and Luke 8:40-56 that share with us the story of two remarkable healings.  A woman who had suffered for twelve years and was healed, and a little girl, the age of twelve, who was healed. I've written about them many times. Each time I read over this story I am once again blessed with God revealing something new to me. 

I have always marveled that the woman suffered for twelve years and the young girl was the age of twelve when healed by Jesus. I don't believe in coincidences. Why was it important for the age of the little girl to be known? Everything in God's Word has importance. I have always pondered what the connection is. 

Jesus had just crossed over the western side of the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd of people had already gathered. Okay, can you vision Jesus crossing over and the people knowing about His coming? They are seeing Him approach. Jesus is about to step on the land that their same feet are touching. The crowed is growing, but there is Jairus. He falls at the feet of Jesus. This I love because I have been on my knees before the thrown, crying out to my Savior, many times in my twenty-three years of being a child of the King. He has always met me right where I am. But Jairus is actually at the feet of Jesus! He is there crying out for his only daughter. She has become ill. Jairus is sure death is waiting. Can you imagine this family? Her mother at her bedside? They call others to come and pray. Jairus has hope. He rushes to Jesus. The One he knows as Healer. 

This unimaginable time for this family has come upon them quickly. How many of us have been awakened at night by our coughing child? Temperature rising. We are in a rush to call the doctor. We grab for the Tylenol and a cold cloth that we hope will bring the temperature down. I remember staying awake many sleepless nights with my sick children. Praying over them. Leaving my hand upon their chest, waiting for the next clear breath. 

But as Jesus is about to go with Jairus, a woman approaches. She is distraught, weak, and empty. It hasn't been an overnight battle for her. It has been twelve long years. This isn't a woman with family and friends surrounding her bed. She has been alone. She is unclean. Untouchable. She is a woman of faith. It is her very faith that has comforted her and has given her strength to carry on. 

She reaches for the hem. If she can just touch Him. 

Jesus feels the touch. He stops and turns. Should she dare to look upon Him? He knows she has touched Him. I believe Jesus already knew this precious woman of faith would be waiting. Whatever we are facing, Jesus is already there. His steps are not made by chance. Each one is marked with an everlasting impact. 

But what about Jairus? I can imagine his urgency for Jesus to hurry. Jairus was well respected. He was known in the land. He was an important man. I can imagine he is wanting Jesus to leave this untouchable woman and race to his daughter. But with Jesus, there is not one who is more important than the other. As Jesus is healing this woman of faith, He is already there with the daughter of Jairus. His Spirit is all-knowing. He is ever-present. Jesus could take His time. 

I love the picture of Jesus and this woman of faith together. She has suffered for long. People have given up on her, but with her faith she knows that Jesus doesn't give up. She believes He will heal her. "Daughter, He said to her, "your faith" has made you well. God in peace and be free from your affliction." (vs. 34) Do you believe? His healing doesn't always come in the time frame as we wish. Jairus was wishing for now. Jesus has perfect timing. If He had rushed or maybe taken a shorter route He would have missed seeing the woman of faith who was needing Him so very much. 

I can just imagine Jairus saying, "Finally. Can we please hurry?". The people from the synagogue were telling Jairus that his daughter was already dead. Could it really be too late? What if Jesus hadn't stopped? But when Jesus hears what they are saying He says to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Only believe." (vs. 36) Faith in Jesus changes everything. It changes how we react. It changes the heart. Faith helps us to take our eyes off our circumstance and see that nothing is too big for God. 

"Lord, let my belief be bigger than my unbelief. Let my faith be bigger than my fears."

People are gathered at the home of Jairus. They are about to see something extraordinary. That sleeping girl is about to rise. What's amazing is that Jesus immediately says, "She needs to be given something to eat" (vs. 43). 

"In every situation we have a choice. There is no circumstance God can't handle." 

"Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you." 
Philippians 4:9

"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:6-7

The woman of faith and Jairus both made the choice to go to Jesus. They knew without a doubt He was the answer. We see both of these people healed. Life restored. That isn't always the healing we receive. Again, everything in God's perfect timing. One had suffered for twelve long years and another instant. When we go to the Lord in prayer, we are with Jesus. He is with us. He is listening. There is nothing too small for us to take to Him. He wants the details. Big or small, years or instant, He knows our suffering. He cares for each of His children and regards no one with extra love. He loves each of us as if we were His only child. 

Sometimes our healing isn't on this side of heaven. There are times when He chooses to heal by taking those He loves to be home with Him. We can't always understand this, but what we must do is trust Him. 

So, what is it that caught my attention in this reading? That it doesn't matter if one has suffered for twelve years or for overnight. Sometimes those overnights seem like eternity, don't they? Suffering is suffering. Twelve years is a long time to suffer. Overnight is a long time to suffer. 

I can imagine this little twelve year old darling having a wonderful life for her twelve years. Smiles and giggles. This could have been the first time she was ever ill. We don't know of her life before this. We can only imagine. Dream and ponder. I believe Jesus loves when we ponder over His Word. For these parents and their child being sick all that mattered was that she was better. They couldn't get to Jesus quick enough. Their suffering couldn't be consoled by others. It was Jesus, only Jesus, who brought peace to their suffering hearts. 

As this little girl played and danced with giggles for twelve years, in her lifetime, this woman of faith had suffered the same about of time. Can you imagine? I believe many of us can relate. I have suffered from migraines/chronic pain/anxiety for over twelve years now. Healing as I envision hasn't come, but I believe God has moved through me in this suffering. He has brought me through each time and has never left me alone. He gives me strength to breath and yes, to embrace all that touches my life. For there is purpose in everything. I may not understand that purpose, but I believe over time the Holy Spirit opens our eyes and uncovers unexpected blessings in our suffering. 

This woman of faith had lived the last twelve years unlike the little girl. She was alone. Do you think she ever felt hopeless? Could it be that it was her faith that carried her through and gave her hope? 

Whether it has been overnight for you or years of suffering has touched your life, Jesus is here. He is waiting for you to reach out to Him. He will be there for you. His strength will lift you up and His mercy will indeed give you new vision and a heart that no longer sees the suffering without purpose, but an opportunity to call upon the One who will bring healing in unexpected ways. 

Both of these healings brought many others to not only see the work of God, but to see hurting people turn to the One they know that moves on their behalf. This is huge to an unbelieving world. 

Jesus laid His hands upon one and one with only her fingers touched the hem of His garment. 

It was faith that healed them. 

"Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuse in Him!"
Psalm 34:8

"I love You, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." 
Psalm 18:1-2

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