It was a great e-mail question, one of the best I’ve received in a long time.
My friend Jared Easley has a gift for asking insightful questions and helping others connect with truth in creative ways. He has a way of drawing out great things from people, and here’s what he wrote to me…
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(Luke 8:43-48, NIV)
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind [Jesus] and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.
Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
My question – How do you touch Jesus in 2015?
Happy New Year & God bless you.
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Wow. Isn’t that a great question? Think about it.
Do you have hurt in your life that no one has been able to heal?
Do you have sadness or disappointment that never seems to go away?
Do you have pain in your heart or your body that has been with you so long you can’t remember life without it?
What if Jesus really could make things right, if only you could get close enough, if only you could touch Him?
That’s what this woman thought —no, believed— and it’s that belief that ultimately did two incredible things for her. First, it gave her the reckless courage to do what seemed unthinkable: try to “steal” a miracle from Jesus. Second, it gave her the opportunity to demonstrate the kind of faith that makes miracles possible in the first place.
I have to wonder, though, why did the woman creep through the crowd and try to touch Jesus without Him noticing her? Of all the others Jesus healed, every one we know of got their miracle simply by asking for it. Why didn’t she do the same?
Her approach was probably driven by her affliction.
You see, in Jewish culture, the woman’s bleeding problem would have made her “ceremonially unclean.”
+ That meant she would have been denied participation in worship at the Temple.
+ It meant she would have been separated and ostracized from other people.
+ It meant she would have suffered not only the physical pain of her condition, but also the emotional weight of being isolated and alone.
Here’s the thing, though. It’s likely that the very problem that was the source of her hurt ended up being the source of her healing. Why? Because she didn’t come to Jesus with an attitude of entitlement. She approached Him with humility.
If you want to touch Jesus to “steal” a miracle, you need a humble heart that knows you don’t deserve it.
How will you approach Jesus this year, entitled or humbled?
As we look at the story more closely, we see a second thing that was key to the woman’s dramatic healing. She was desperate. For twelve years she had exhausted every option, and I’m certain she was completely exhausted, too.
It was this state of desperation that was a catalyst for the woman’s humble action. It was the very thing that ignited her faith and made her act on what she believed. And, it was that bold action that ultimately brought her to a place where she was able to be healed.
Sometimes we may have a humble heart that knows how much we need a miracle and how little we deserve one, but we are too afraid of failure to pursue a solution. In fact, for most of us, we usually only take a step towards healing when the pain of not changing is greater than the pain of staying where we are.
That’s why desperation is so important.
When we are truly desperate for an answer, we’ll stop at nothing to find one. When we are truly desperate for a miracle, we’ll do whatever it takes to get one. It’s in this place of desperation that we often find the courage we need to act, and that action, of course, is precisely what “faith” is all about.
If you want to touch Jesus to “steal” a miracle, you need a desperate heart that’s willing to do whatever it takes to be whole.
Will you wallow in self-pity this year, or step out in faith that God will meet your need?
For the woman, her heart of humility brought her near to Jesus, and her heart of desperation gave her motivation to act. There is a third thing, though, that was key to her touching Jesus and His touching her.
Though she hadn’t announced her approach, when the woman touched Jesus, she might as well have sounded a trumpet. In that brief moment when human skin met holy garments, Jesus knew something had happened. He asked, and the woman responded with the truth, but look at how she did it…
“In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.”
The woman didn’t come close to Jesus and whisper her thanks in His ear. She didn’t quietly mutter her answer to the one or two people close at hand. No, she told of her hurt and Jesus’ healing “in the presence of all the people” so that they would give Jesus the praise!
If you want to touch Jesus to “steal” a miracle, you need a worshipful heart whose deepest desire is the glory of God.
Here’s the crux of the matter: Jesus wanted to heal her all along. We could debate semantics and theology about whether or not He actually knew she was there all along, but again and again in Scripture we see that the character of Jesus is that He loves to heal, because it brings glory to God.
That’s why even though the woman was sneaky in her approach, she didn’t actually “steal” a miracle from Jesus at all. Impossible. She couldn’t have. Why?
Because you can’t steal what someone already wants to give you, you can only receive it.
So, if you truly want to touch Jesus this year, here’s my hope and prayer for you.
Like this unnamed but deeply loved woman, may your need cultivate within you a heart of humility.
May your desperation spur you on to act in faith.
And, may your deepest desire become not to take something from Jesus, but to receive something so you have more glory to give Him in return.