Best of Daily Reflections: Reaching Out to Jesus
Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.
Luke 8:40-56 records two miracles of Jesus, one embedded within the other. The first of these miracles involves the healing of a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. This condition, apart from being debilitating, would have rendered its victim ceremonially unclean. Thus, she would have been cut off from many religious practices and shunned by most people, especially men who sought to be holy before God (see Lev. 15:26-27).
This explains the woman’s odd behavior with respect to Jesus. She desperately wanted him to heal her, but was afraid that he would never allow her to draw near to him. Her only hope, she figured, was to sneak up behind Jesus in a crowd and touch the fringe of his robe. And that’s exactly what she did.
Tomorrow, I’ll reflect on Jesus’ unusual response to this woman. But, today, I am struck by the action of this woman. She did not have confidence that Jesus would help her if she cried out to him. She did not believe that he would help her if he knew her situation. She did not come to him for healing in the ordinary way. Rather, she had just enough faith to reach out and touch the fringe of Jesus’ garment. She had, as Jesus would say, faith the size of a mustard seed (Luke 17:6).
Have you ever approached Jesus like this woman? Have you ever had just enough faith to reach out to him in prayer? I think of times in my life when my faith was faltering. I was not able to come before the Lord with boldness, as Scripture invites me to do (Heb. 4:16). I didn’t have the guts to share my need with others who might pray for me. In my desperation and shame, I reached out to Jesus in the hope that he might care for me.
The woman in this story offers a moving picture of prayer, prayer mixed with desperation and shame, prayer that has just enough courage to reach out to the Lord, prayer that indeed touches the heart of Jesus.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever felt like the woman in this story? Have you ever reached out to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe, so to speak? How does the example of this woman instruct or encourage you?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord Jesus, how thankful I am for the privilege of prayer. How amazing that you are willing to listen to me, to pay attention to my thoughts and needs, and even to respond with mercy when I cry out to you. Thank you!
And thank you for being receptive even when I come before you with fear, with shame, with desperation, and with faith no larger than a mustard seed. Thank you for hearing and responding even when I struggle with doubt.
Help me, Lord, to turn to you no matter what I feel, no matter how bad I might feel, no matter how embarrassed or ashamed I am. In you, and you alone, do I find grace and mercy, life and peace, healing and hope.
All praise be to you, Lord Jesus, because you hear even my mustard seed prayers! Amen.