Sunday, October 5, 2014

Do I Want to Be Right or Do I Want to Touch Jesus

I can’t do it. I’m a rule follower. We are judged by appearances--by how things appear. Even our faith walk is judged by the appearance of how well we follow the rules given in Scripture.

I listened in tears at Bible study last week as I heard a passage I knew well told in a different perspective. Luke 8:40-48 is about the woman who had a bleeding disorder for twelve years. In a crowd as Jesus passed by she touched the edge of his cloak and was immediately healed. He also immediately knew that the [healing] power had gone out of Him.

I know this passage. I’ve taught this passage. One touch is all it takes. 

But I’ve never thought of the woman as a literal individual. Only an example from scripture.

And then I hear the words she “crossed over the border of legitimate behavior to gain access to divine power.” (excerpt from Breaking Free by Beth Moore)

She broke the rules to go touch Jesus. She knew He had the power to heal her and she risked further humiliation, isolation, and possible punishment to take the risk of Him healing her.



The line was drawn yet she didn’t hesitate to walk across it, elbow her way through crowds of people, and as an unclean woman touch the holy Son of God.

***

How badly do I want what Jesus has to offer me? 

But I can’t. I’m a people-pleaser. A rule follower. I care what people think and say about me.

More than what He thinks and says about you? More than what He has to offer you on the other side of that line?

***

This goes against everything I know. I want to say that you walk through your circumstances, that you pray for God’s healing where you are, that you set an example by persevering and continuing to accept the help (medical, counseling, financial, etc.) that has been offered to you while you wait for God to show up.

But she didn’t. She broke all the rules. All the norms of society, of her faith, of her upbringing. 

She got up and pushed her way to Jesus. Not to speak to Him, not to insist that He heal her, but to simply touch the hem of his cloak and receive healing.

Twelve years of treatment and help and doing things the “right” way was her breaking point. Twelve years of being unclean was enough to push her across the border of legitimate behavior.



Somewhere along this argument in my head about whether “crossing borders of acceptable behavior” is really acceptable I realized I stepped across a border of my own recently. Except I didn’t just step, I ran.

I headed the opposite direction of many, I thought at the time, people and things that were very important to me. Important to my walk with Christ. Important to my stability.

I had every intention of crossing that border alone. I never intended to take anyone with me. Funny how that works.

I crossed the border and before long a teenager asked if they could come too. The next thing I knew my whole family was standing on the other side of the border with me.

I didn’t tell my family ahead of time what I was planning. In the eyes of everything we thought we knew, it was wrong. But there came a day, a moment actually, when I couldn’t just sit there in my bitterness and hurt with the fake smile pasted on my face and pretend that everything was perfect any more.

My emotions since that day have been a train wreck. Had I been a better person I wouldn’t have had to cross that border. If my relationship with God had been stronger I could have brought about restoration instead of isolation. You shouldn’t tell anyone you’re a Christian. If they find out about how you ran they’ll never trust you. You won’t be trusted to serve publicly ever again. You aren’t good enough to be a servant of God.

And then I cried as I listened to this story from the Bible that I’d heard a hundred times. 

God healed the rule breaker because she had faith. Jesus didn’t judge her, didn’t condemn her behavior, He healed her and made sure she knew it was because of her faith she had been healed. 

Do I want to be right or do I want to touch Jesus?

It seems like such an easy question to answer. 

Jesus! Duh!

But how many times do I let Him pass by without reaching out for His cloak because it wouldn’t look right? How many times do I try to do things on my own instead of crying out for Him to handle the situation? 

Am I working to hard for nothing when all I really need to do is reach out and touch Him as He passes by? 

photo credit: Kevin H. via photopin cc

photo credit: Wootang01 via photopin cc