It seems to me that we often turn to God when we are at the end of our rope. When we have exhausted all our resources, whether material, physical or emotional, we finally say, “Ok God, You’re my last resort.” I don’t think this is always due to lack of faith. Sometimes we simply think that the problem is too small to bother God with or that we can handle it. We have the sense that God has bigger problems to deal with and certainly doesn’t need to bother with little ol’ me. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in our plans to resolve the problem that we squeeze God out until we suddenly come to our senses. There is a story in the Gospel of Mark of a woman who had a similar approach to Jesus. She certainly had faith; she just didn’t want to bother 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.”
This woman had spent the last twelve years of her life dealing with this devastating illness and had spent all her resources trying to get better. At this point in the story she had nothing left and nowhere else to go, so she turns to Jesus, knowing that He was her last and best hope. So far this sounds pretty typical of our lives. There’s a problem and we try to fix it and when all else fails we turn to God.
What I find fascinating about this story is the woman’s tactic in approaching Jesus. She certainly understood that He could heal her. She had faith. She certainly didn’t let the crowd around Him intimidate her or cause her to give up. She had tenacity. She just wanted a stealth healing. She wanted to remain anonymous. I wonder why. I imagine that she was afraid that if she asked Him directly, He would turn her down, then she would be worse off than before. She was not content to just be part of the crowd, near Jesus, but she also didn’t want to stand out, to attract His attention or to bother Him. Perhaps she thought she didn’t deserve to be healed or cared about by the Messiah. If she could just touch Him and melt back into the crowd everything would be fine.
It was not going to work out that way. Jesus, in the midst of that busting, jostling crowd, knew that someone had touched Him in faith. He knew that someone had just been healed and He was determined to know who. Why was it so important to Him that He know who? What did it really matter, He had healed dozens of people before. I think it’s because Jesus deals with us as individuals. Each one of us is important and KNOWN to Him. We are not just a number or a vague face in a crowd. He wants to establish a relationship with us just as He did with this woman. He wanted her to know that what she did was ok. He wanted her not only to receive the physical healing; He wanted her to know that He knew her, that she mattered. He wanted to make sure she didn’t walk away afraid that she had stolen the healing and that God would be angry with her. He wanted her to “go in peace and be freed from suffering” physical, emotional and spiritual. He cared about every aspect of her life just as He does about ours. And because of that care and concern He would want us to go to Him first, instead of when we reach the end of our rope. He knows us now and knows what we need now. We don’t need to wait.
That day many people touched Jesus, but only one person reached out in faith. Many people were content to just be part of the crowd and be satisfied with proximity, but one needed to connect with Him. Many people could say that they saw Jesus that day, but only one could say that Jesus saw her.
So I ask you, what keeps you from going to Him? Why wait until you are exhausted before you approach Him. The ask yourself, will you be content to just hang around in the crowd or will you reach out to Jesus and touch Him. Are you willing to set aside fear, insecurity, self-doubt, or timidity to allow yourself to be fully known by Christ Himself? Will you be content to remain hidden or will you make yourself known. Remember, He already knows you; He already knows what you need. He simply needs to be given the opportunity to say to you, “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”