Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"You're not alone"

This past Tuesday night at The Post, we talked about touching the unnoticed. This month's series is called "Touch", and it has been really challenging, encouraging, and motivating from the first week. This week really struck me however. We read from Mark 5:24-33, and its the story of the bleeding woman who was healed by touching Jesus' robes. Until now, I viewed it as just another story abut one of Jesus' miracles. So wrong. It's deals with so much more than that.

First of all, the thought that this woman had been bleeding for 12 years is hard to fathom. Up until a few years ago, I never even realized what was really going on with her...I just imagined that she was bleeding randomly as if she'd skinned her knees...definitely not the case here. I won't go into details...if you don't know what I'm talking about, go ask your mom. ;) Anyway, Jewish laws stated that if a woman was on her period, she was unclean. Everything she touched, sat on, etc, was also considered unclean during this time. I imagine that dealing with uncleanliness for a week out of the month was frustrating enough...imagine 12 years. And since anything or anyone you touched became unclean as well, you can imagine the responses she drew from people. No one would want to be around her. No one would want to hug her or show any sort of affection. She would be like an ignored, unnoticed, outcast, much like the lepers of the time. Imagine how hard that would be. Imagine how lonely she felt.

Fast forward to 2010. Put yourself in her shoes. Not the bleeding part, but the loneliness. I can assure you that I've never gone 12 years without so much as a tap on the shoulder from a loved one or friend, so I can't imagine what she was experiencing. But I have experienced loneliness. We all have. We're just like this woman. And the thing is, our loneliness may never present itself the same way every time. I've felt lonely and isolated because of sin. I've felt lonely when I moved to Louisville and felt as if I knew nobody. I've felt lonely even in a room full of people. Sure, I have lots of friends, but there are times when being surrounded by a crowd can be when you feel most alone. Just think...I'm sure we've all experienced it at some point. And when it happens to you, you feel even more isolated because you feel as if nobody else understands what you're going through or what you're thinking and feeling. That makes it much harder.

Back to the story. This woman had faith that even touching the hem of Jesus' robes would heal her and make her clean. (v. 28) To do so, she would have to push through the crowds, touching hundreds of people in the streets, making them "unclean" as she did. And then what faith and boldness it must have taken for her to reach out and touch the God of the Universe in the flesh. If there were one person that I would be afraid to touch and make "unclean", it would be Him. But Jesus didn't care. He knew immediately and asked "Who touched me?" (v. 31) With there being such a huge crowd, that woman could have easily shrunken away and left without ever saying a word. But she stepped forward and told Jesus everything. For one thing, I think it's amazing how even in a situation where she had no idea how Jesus would react, she felt compelled to tell Him everything about her situation. (v. 33) And he didn't get mad like some might expect. He responded by calling her daughter. (v. 34) Right in that moment, I can imagine how loved she felt. With a single touch, she went from being known as an unclean outcast to being referred to as a daughter by the Son of God. She went from feeling lonely and unloved to knowing that the Creator loved her and cared so much for her. How incredible?!

Picture your own life again. God has done the same for us. If you want to think of it as being "unclean", our sins have made us just as unclean as this woman, if not more. Yet Jesus calls us sons and daughters. He loves us so much that none of that matters. As long as we confess our sins to Him and have faith and truly believe in who He is, like the woman, He will gladly cover our sins and vouch for us before the Lord someday. Our faith makes us well, just like it did for her. And just like the woman, He can heal us of our loneliness. In today's world, its so hard to remember that even on our loneliest days, God is always right there with us, and that we're never truly alone. We sang a song to end the night on Tuesday that I thought summed it all up perfectly. And as cliche as it is to post song lyrics, I'm gonna post some of the lyrics to this song because I think this song describes Christ's love for us so beautifully.

Safe, by Phil Wickham

To the one who's dreams are falling all apart
And all you're left with is a tired and broken heart
I can tell by your eyes you think your on your own
but you're not all alone

Have you heard of the One who can calm the raging seas
Give sight to the blind, pull the lame up to their feet
With a love so strong and never let you go
oh you're not alone

You will be safe in His arms
You will be safe in His arms
'Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made
He will be with You always
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in His arms

I just posted the first verse or two and the chorus, but I think you get the picture. I've heard this song I don't know how many times on the radio, but Tuesday night is when the meaning of the lyrics really hit me. I just love how it reminds us that we're not alone. God does the same thing all throughout Scripture, and I'm so glad that He's given us that promise. And even though its tough, I always try to remember that even on my worst days, I'm never, ever alone. The God who created the universe created me, holds me together, and loves me more than I could ever know. No matter what I'm feeling or going through, God will always be there to pick up the pieces when I fall apart and feel as if the rest of world could care less. And because God does that for us, we can and should do that for others. How can we reach out to the people who may feel unnoticed and unloved and touch them? I'm not just talking literal touch, although hugs and pats on the back are great. How can we impact someone's life by noticing them, even if it's just by having a conversation at lunch, or simply acknowledging them with a genuine smile? How can we share the love of Christ with the people of this world who need Him so desperately? Who in your life needs to experience the healing, loving, powerful touch of Christ?

How awesome is our God? :)

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