Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Faith in Adversity




 The day was so very hot and her body so bruised. The heat just zapped what little strength she even had. She needed a drink, but she was to tired to go to the well to get it. Going to the cupboard, she searched for just one shekel, just one, that's all she needed. She needed that treatment again so bad. They told her they had done all they could do but she didn't believe them. She could not bear one more moment in this pain, as she bent over holding her breath until this one would pass. Breathe, she thought just breathe.
 
 Gritting her teeth she made up in her mind she was done. Surely Yahweh would understand, the pain is so great, the loneliness too much. Surely He would understand if she took her own life. No she thought, murder is murder according to the law. There is no way out of this, she feared Yahweh to much.
 
 Let's see how long had she been in this house; 5, 10 oh forget it doesn't matter now. Law is law. My options have run out. As she had a done a million times before, she wondered what she had done, why her, why not someone else. Maybe one of those temple harlots. Why not them? Life just seems so unfair, she thought. What's the difference anyway? I've prayed and I've tried to be faithful. Yahweh knows I can't go to the temple like this, it's forbidden in the law. Maybe this is punishment for something my ancestors had done.

 Good grief here I go again speculating, wondering and asking myself foolhardy questions. Yahweh does what He does, I must accept it. What would I give to be free of this, to live my life just one day, without the pain, one day without the flushes and the sweat. One day without knives screaming through my belly. Dropping on her knees, she begs Yahweh one more time, please heal me Yahweh, please? Please look upon me with mercy?
 
  Rising slowly lest the pain come roaring back, she recalls overhearing one of the women talking about a man who could heal. Pshhh, she thought, it must be a rumor. Has such a man been in Israel since the prophets. Still, it sounded good to her weary soul, but like everything else in her life, definitely to good to be true. To think that such a man would be able to heal. Could it possibly be true? It makes no difference he wouldn't give me the time of day. I have to stay in my house according to the law.
 
   Oh how her heart pained at the thought of the years she had been trapped within these walls. Achhh, is mercy clean gone from our land? Surely Yahweh would have mercy on her? She sounded desperate even to her own ears, and it made her feel selfish, but her pain was so great that desperation drove her to consider her options.
 
   As another billow of pain rolled through her being, she cried out in anguish, unable to move. Praying that Yahweh would take her home, so tired was she in her body and her mind.
 
   Letting her thoughts drift back once more to the teacher who some folks claimed could heal, could it be? In spite of her self, a tiny spark of hope flamed to life in her heart. She had heard some say he was a prophet, some a teacher, still others thought he was one of the prophets raised from the dead. He, she heard, claimed to be the Son of God. Likely he was just another demoniac hoping to gain offerings, just as the scribes have said.
 
   To pass the time of pain, she entertained all the possibilities of such a thing happening. What if she were to see this Jesus of Nazareth? What if He would see her? Round and round the questions sped through her mind bumping each other like an out of control chariot with no driver. 
 

Little did she know her life was about to change.

 
 Somewhere in the deep recesses of her mind she thought she heard a knock at the door and she groaned deep inside her heart. Not today, today I can't bear the pain. Please whoever you are please go away, she thought. Persistently, like a bad headache ,the knocking at the door continued to ring, like the anvil of a blacksmith pounding metal. Whoever it was sounded excited or scared. That spurred her forward much faster than she needed to be moving in her shape.
 
 Yahweh give me the strength to get to the door. I'm coming, I'm coming she cried. Yahweh she hurt so much. No hope, it's over, it's just a matter of time before the mourners gather in the streets carrying her body to the grave. Most of them would be relieved, they felt she was being punished by the Almighty. Maybe she was, at this point it didn't matter anymore. Her time was running out. That's what the doctors told her. It was just a matter of time...
 
  Yes, Yes I'm here, I'm here, what is it?, she said, opening the door. Oh! Martha you scared me to death! she said, trying to disguise the pain that was firing through her being, what in the world has got you so worked up? He's coming she cried, He's coming! Who's coming Martha, calm down and tell me who. I can't understand you child. Jesus, she cried, Jesus of Nazareth is coming. Hurry, Hurry we can't miss him.
 
   The moment she said Jesus, her heart began to beat rapidly, pounding away like the hooves of the Roman horses passing by. He's coming?, here?, to this town? Come on, Come on, cried Martha,  we are going to miss him! There are a allot of people and I want to see him.
 
   Slowly as she made her way out of the door it was as if some unseen hand guided her every step. Mercy but the crowd was great, she thought, she would never get close enough to see him. Dejectedly, she turned to leave for home, thinking what a waste of time this was turning out to be. The pain in her belly so intense her knees were shaking like butter. 
 
  No sooner had she turned to go when a voice as gentle as a spring breeze whispered across her heart, "keep going my child I'm here" Oh great she thought, now I'm getting paranoid as if the other crazy thoughts weren't bad enough. I'm starting to hear voices in my head. Turning to look back one more time, hoping she could catch just a glimpse, the man called Jesus of Nazareth looked her way.
 
  Then, as if time stood still and all the world slowly ground to a screeching halt, she knew in that moment, that short break in time, that whatever it took, she would get to that man somehow, someway. Even if she had to crawl on her hands and knees the entire way. Her body must have heeded that declaration for in that moment pain swept through her womb so fierce and so hot that it literally took her breath away and she fell to her knees screaming Yahweh have mercy. 
 

Without even realizing it, she began to crawl.

 
   The pain was so intense that she didn't even feel the crush of feet on her hands, didn't hear the screams of the soldiers yelling for her to get up. Tears rolling down her face obscuring her vision did not deter her, not even the pushing and kicking would detour her from her goal. Her heart had focused entirely on that odd looking man from Nazareth.
 
  So focused and intent on getting to him she didn't realize that she had reached him, until looking up she saw him. Thinking she would just reach up and touch his garment without him noticing, she was totally unprepared for the shock wave that rolled through her at the mere touch of her hand upon his garment's hem. The current of which sent waves though out her whole body so shocking her mind it took her breath away momentarily.
 
   Quickly as she could, she got to her feet thinking she would flee before he noticed and surely he would, she heard him say "Who touched me" Like air being sucked from her entire body, she stood there trembling with fear, unable to move. His disciples started scolding him, "what do you mean who touched you?" Do you not realize the throngs of people around you? "Who touched you?" "Seriously?"
 
   While they were yet scolding him, she came forward trembling with fear falling before him, scared to death. She stuttered shakily, fear griping her heart like a vice "I touched you" she said. 
  You could hear the crowd around her gasp, stunned to silence, what does she mean she touched him? Oh goodness, its that woman again, should have known she would be here. Yahweh knows she has tried everything, spent lots of money too. Foolish that is what it is , she should accept that Yahweh has decreed her to be this way.
 
   While musing amongst themselves Jesus gently lifted her to her feet. Trembling like a newborn baby, she stood before this man she suddenly knew without a doubt is "The Son of God". The love she saw in the depths of His eyes took her breath away. What he said next sent a gasp through the crowds.
 

 "Daughter thy faith has made you whole; Go in peace and be completely whole from this plague."

 
   Oh what love filled her heart for this Jesus of Nazareth. For the first time in years since her trouble began, she felt a rest in body she could not remember ever feeling before. She knew she was healed, could still feel that incredibly strange sensation coursing through her body.
   He had called her daughter, she would have to ponder that later, right now she wanted to dance, she wanted to run. Wait she wanted to go out of her house, take a journey somewhere, anywhere... Free, Free she was free... Thank You Yahweh You have heard my cry! Yahweh she shouted you are so good to me!

This story has always fascinated me. Not just her determination even though great. Her faith moves me beyond words. After she had tried everything else, she dug deep within her heart and she moved forward. Forward toward a man some called crazy, the Pharisees called him a devil, all she knew was that he was her last hope. Defying the skeptics and the mockers she was going to get to Him. It was her final hope..

If this didn't work...  well at least she had tried...

How many times have we been here?

The question is; Will you believe Him, will you go to Him not knowing if He will heal you or not? Does your faith step out, not knowing if God will even answer? This story reminds us that God moves when He determines it's best for us. Did He know she was sick, Yes! Did He just ignore her all those years? No! Someone, somewhere drew faith from her act of faith. All these years later so are we. So let God work in you today. Use you faith, use your determination , that whatever, wherever, you will get to Him. Push past your doubters, push past your critics, push past your fear He's waiting.....


Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1

God Bless All!

With Christ I'm hid!

Shawn