My friend emailed her story, begging for help. She was desperate. A story of jealousy; jealousy of her husband’s ministry. She, stuck at home with their littles, feeling unable to join in the work and the joys of ministry, was jealous! Did God not want to use her willing clay pot?
Jealousy—a hard word; harder than comparison, one of the “acceptable” sins among Christian women. But in her story … and in many of our comparison stories … jealousy is an accurate descriptor. It makes us desperate and it hurts.
Hurt enough to cry for help.
Hurt enough to come into the light.
Hurt enough to invite God to work.
A Story of Desperation
I’m reminded of the story of the woman with the unceasing flow of blood. (Luke 8:43-48) How embarrassing; how not normal; and I wonder, was she jealous?
I don’t know. But I do know, she too was desperate and hurt enough to cry for help, to come into the light, and to invite God to work.
“But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:46-48, NLT)
“Someone deliberately touched me”
Someone had a plan; someone acted with intention; someone was desperate and clung to a sliver of hope. Hope that was outside of herself. Maybe Jesus can help.
Both my friend who cast her jealousy and hurt into cyber space and this lady with her physical hurt casting herself at the feet of Jesus, needed help. They were desperate.
“She could not stay hidden”
Jesus knew she was there; knew her desperation; and in love healed her.
He not only healed her physical ailment, he gave her ministry.
Perhaps that was more than the woman was asking when she deliberately touched the hem of Jesus’ robe. But I wonder, if underneath many of our requests lives a silent desire, to encourage, to love, to minister to others. For my friend, it was her spoken desire.
“She began to tremble”
Trembling akin to fear.
Fear that Leads to Greater Things
Skimming through Luke, several narratives tell similar stories of desperation. The response—fear or in some translations, awe, awe that makes you tremble.
Always this fear leads to greater things.
Zechariah (Luke 1) and the widowed mother (Luke 7) of the dead son were desperate, Zechariah for his wife to have a child, and the mother for her son.
In both, the people stood in awe at the power of God. In both, God’s plan was greater. The news of Jesus spread; God was glorified.
Trembling, fear leading to the spread of the good news of Jesus and to glorify God.
The desperate woman “fell to her knees”
Falling to her knees signifying humility, submission, a reverential posture before God. (Philippians 2:10; Ephesians 3:14) The appropriate place in the presence of Jesus.
My emailing friend, not literally on her knees, demonstrated great humility and a bowed heart like the woman with the flow of blood.
“The whole crowd heard her explain”
The woman told the truth to everyone. I bet her trembling produced tears. I imagine she kept her gaze on the grass in front of her. But she told the truth.
“Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
In one sentence Jesus summarizes the gospel in two significant ways.
He calls her daughter. He affirms her as a member of the people of God.
He then affirms her again by putting her healing in the right context. It is her faith that led to her wellness. She came to Jesus, the great physician, in desperation with her shred of hope. Jesus saw her desperation and because he loved her first, he stopped the bleeding; he healed her.
My friend’s struggle did not revolve around something physical. But her jealousy also requires the healing of our great physician. Her desperation, her shred of hope, and her coming into the light, opens the door for her to experience the gospel, to experience the love God already has for her.
“…For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to here,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Sue and her husband Bill live in Colorado Springs and attend Village Seven PCA. Bill serves as a ruling elder and Sue as a shepherd in their Sunday School Community. She enjoys talking about the gospel over coffee with the women she ministers to Sue writes on her blog, Echoes of Grace at suetell.com.