I’m impatient that way.
If I try a new shampoo, I want to see bouncing’ and behavin’ hair in no time flat.
A new wrinkle cream? Ten years better melt away “in minutes” just like the commercial promised.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. We live in an instant gratification society. It’s about “quick this” and “overnight that.” Heaven forbid if we ever have to actually wait for something.
I’ve been particularly impatient as I’ve prayed, begged and pleaded for God to relieve my physical suffering. Twenty years of chronic pain. Nothing instant about that.
For years, I have chased results — an outcome. I’ve scoured the Internet to find the next doctor that will finally have the answer. I’ve tried countless “cure-all” diets. Spent precious dollars on more than a few expensive “miracle” treatments that I truly believed would finally give my body peace.
I’ve often unconsciously lived in a mindset of “I’ll be happy if I start to feel better …” “I’ll be a lot more joyful when God finally heals me….” “This new doctor is going to be the one… then I can really live my life.”
If, then, when … My joy, my hope, my freedom has teetered precariously on an ever-elusive result.
So many times over the years, I have identified with the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:
A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. Mark 5:25-26
She has exhausted all her financial resources and all her other options: She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Mark 5:27-28
Like me, she desperately wanted a result — the relief of her terrible problem of bleeding.
Instantly, her body was healed: Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Mark 5:29
But if the story had ended there, it wouldn’t have been the healing she really needed. Her external circumstances had changed, but her internal condition was the same.
Under Jewish law, a woman with an issue of bleeding was considered unclean. Anything or anyone she touched was also considered unclean. She took considerable risk to press through the crowd to get to Jesus. Her physical healing didn’t touch the deep pain of years of shame and isolation. It didn’t cure her need for a Savior.
In Sheila Walsh’s book, The Storm Inside, she writes: “If the woman had just touched Jesus’ clothes, been healed and slipped away unnoticed, she might have thought she was accessing impersonal magical power … She might also have carried her shame home with her, even though the bleeding has stopped. Jesus offered her the opportunity to come to Him face to face, person to person.”
The woman with the issue of blood reached out to Jesus. She wanted physical healing. He wanted to give her so much more.
Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” … he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman… came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over. Mark 5:30-34
It is not through the result that the most important transformation comes. It is through the relationship with Jesus. He changed her external circumstances. But it’s when He draws her near, assures her that He sees her, acknowledges her faith and relieves her shame that true healing occurs. She leaves a different woman because He calls her “Daughter.”
Our encounters with Jesus always leave us changed. As we seek Him, we find the healing that we long for. It just may not like look what we envisioned.
He wants for us to find peace and contentment that is dependent on our hope and strength in Him, not on our circumstances. They are just too shaky and unpredictable. God never changes. We are always on solid ground when we place our joy, hope and security in Him.
I haven’t found physical healing. I don’t know when it will come. But having come to the end of myself, I have surrendered the outcome to Him — whatever it is. I still see doctors and take medicine. I still pray for healing. But my faith is no longer in an outcome. My joy no longer depends upon a result, but a relationship.
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I am healed. Of my need for control. Of the belief that God does not see my pain. As I’m placed my faith in Him, He has changed my mind and heart in ways only the Holy Spirit can. I can’t explain it, but I’m at peace.
Seek Him instead of a result. The One who calls you Daughter won’t disappoint.
It is usual with people not to apply themselves to Christ, till they have tried in vain all other helpers, and find them, as certainly they will, physicians of no value. And he will be found a sure refuge, even to those who make him their last refuge. ~ Matthew Henry Commentary of the Whole Bible