Sunday, December 10, 2006

Touch the Hem of Holiness

In the Bible, Mark 5:25-34 tells the story of a woman who was afflicted with what seems to be an incurable condition for a significant portion of her adult life. Likely, according to the Law, she's considered "unclean" because of the bleeding, and she desperately wants to be healed for many reasons. Not just physically, but emotionally -- she wants to be accepted again. And she wants to be healed spiritually as well. She so longs for this that for her it is enough just to touch the hem of Jesus' robe. She may have thought, "he won't even need to notice me." But Jesus did notice, and in a way that she didn't expect.

Yes, her touching the hem healed her. Jesus felt "power had gone out from him" and wanted to acknowledge the one whose life he had just transformed. Imagine this woman who, for the past twelve years, had been outcast, shunned, removed from society, family, and all she loved. Humiliated for over a decade with the label "unclean." No one would dare touch her, yet she longed to touch holiness. And in a moment of bold faith had the courage to cross the boundary of her uncleanness.

Imagine her embarrassment when all eyes were drawn to her. Had she just defiled God's anointed one? She fell at Jesus' feet, trembling in fear, and told him everything.
Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

He didn't say much. Yet he said so much.

"Daughter." He called her "daughter." Not woman, not child, but daughter. He gave her acceptance. He gave her value. He gave her belonging. He gave her the Father's great love. No one else had in twelve years.

"Your faith has healed you." Healed. Her faith healed her. She believed in her only hope. In a manner of speaking, this woman bet the family farm on Jesus, all or nothing. And to hear her redeemer say she is healed! Those were the sweetest words she had heard in ages!

"Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." Peace. She is loved now. Maybe not by the community -- at least not yet. But loved by this man that just called her "daughter." She can once again re-enter the community and not live in the emotional chaos of loneliness. Oh, sure, there will be some that just don't get it, that don't believe that she's been healed. There might be some that still call her "unclean." But peace comes from knowing that you can hold your head high and not feel shame, because you now know the Truth. And the Truth has indeed set her free!

Everybody has a need that would take the touch of holiness to make it right again. For some it's physical. Maybe it's emotional. Perhaps financial or job-related. Or maybe relational. Or even just some sin or bad habit you want to walk away from once and for all. Whatever it is, it seems to be holding on with a white-knuckling death grip. You tried and tried to break free, prayed and prayed, but no mater how hard you try--------

You've gotten to the point where you have nothing left to lose. Heck, you even wonder if God even notices that you are hurting, much less bothers to even care.

"Daughter." "Healed." "Peace."

You don't have to suffer in despair. Reach out in bold faith. Touch the hem of holiness. Risk everything. You have so much to gain.

No comments: