May 4

“He maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth and his hands make whole.” Job 5:18

As we pass beneath the hills which have been shaken by the earthquake and torn by convulsion, we find that periods of perfect repose succeed those of destruction. The pools of calm water lie clear beneath their fallen rocks, the water lilies gleam, and the reeds whisper among the shadows; the village rises again over the forgotten graves, and its church tower, white through the storm twilight, proclaims a renewed appeal to His protection “in whose hand are all the corners of the earth, and the strength of the hills is his also.” (Streams in the Desert)

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain).

It is hard to be unwanted. She should be immune by now to faces turned the other way she told herself, but the sting of dismissal brought its own brand of shame she couldn’t shake. Unclean—she hated the word and the shun that accompanied judgment. She had done nothing to deserve the disgrace. Twelve years is an eternity for anyone enduring the ignominy of private torment and public ban. Her modest means of support was long gone with nothing to show for it. Some took her money hoping to help; others simply took her for a ride. Either way, her condition was worse now than in the beginning, and she was penniless to boot. With nowhere else to turn, hope ebbed away like the final grunts of a dying man when she overheard strangers speak of a healer headed her way. He was not approaching to find her, obviously, but she quickly formulated a plan. No one in their right mind would stop to help her, but perhaps she could reach out and touch the healer healing before he passed out of reach.

It was against the Law to do such a thing, but years of banishment from the temple and enduring public and private hell made her desperate. She knifed her way through the throng, ceremonially sullying all she touched in the process, and reached out and grasped his cloak from behind. The gesture was not intended to foster attention; she desired healing not notoriety, but the moment she brushed his garment the bleeding stopped. She looked down in bewilderment, stunned at the sudden change. In an instant, one touch secured more than twelve years of treatments and her last mite combined.

Jesus never leaves anyone anonymous. People were jostling and pushing into Him from all over, yet he stopped, turned, and asked, “Who touched me?” (Mark 5:30). The disciples were incredulous for the interruption, but Jesus knew that healing power had gone out of Him. We cannot “steal” a miracle from God. The crowd parted as the woman stepped forward and explained herself. To her astonishment and relief, Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34). Jesus placed desperation on par with faith, and healing was the result.

Contrary to popular opinion, faith does not paint God into a corner. Faith does not change God; it changes us. As a result, our focus shifts from gaining what we desire, to permitting God to do all He desires in and through us. We all need healing of one kind or another, whether we admit it or not. An inordinate amount of suffering is self-induced, but Jesus stands ready to heal that which we bring on ourselves as well as that which is outside our control. The healer never leaves us as he finds us. The question is not, “Do you want to be healed?”, but rather, “How willing are you to change?” In desperation, reach for the healer, and you will receive more than you bargained for.

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