Now, in the crowd that day was a woman who had suffered horribly from continual bleeding for twelve years…When she heard about Jesus’ healing power, she pushed through the crowd and came up from behind him and touched his prayer shawl…As soon as her hand touched him, her bleeding immediately stopped!..Jesus knew at once that someone had touched him, for he felt the power that always surged around him had passed through him for someone to be healed. He turned and spoke to the crowd, saying, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples answered, “What do you mean, who touched you? Look at this huge crowd—they’re all pressing up against you.” But Jesus’ eyes swept across the crowd, looking for the one who had touched him for healing. Mark 5:25-32
Imagine this scene – tons of people, crowded around Jesus, many of them bumping into Him, repeatedly! But one woman came to Jesus in a way that Jesus felt. In a way that literally drew power from Him into her.
What was the difference between the crowd and the woman? Why did the crowd come? They wanted to see Jesus. That’s a good thing right? Many of them were pressing in. So much so that the disciples thought it was crazy for Jesus to ask who touched Him! Yet it wasn’t the physical proximity that moved Jesus and drew out His power, it was faith.
Then Jesus said to her, “Daughter, because you dared to believe, your faith has healed you. Go with peace in your heart, and be free from your suffering! Mark 5:34
She dared to believe and so she pursued. When we come to God, how do we approach Him? Some in that crowd may have come out of obligation. Some curiosity. When we come, are we there just to see what He’ll do? That’s not necessarily bad, but have we come merely as a spectator? This woman approached God with intention. She had heard about Jesus and what He could do. That seed of testimony stirred faith in her heart. That, combined with desperation for change, ignited determination to do whatever it took to touch Jesus. She had to push past discomfort and fear, abandon what was socially acceptable even to leave her house, but faith urged her on.
What kind of desperation exists in our hearts that combined with faith will propel us forward, past what’s comfortable, to truly encounter God?
God is not holding out on us. From the beginning of time, God has wanted a partnership with His sons and daughters. We have the ability to move Him like no other created being. He did that on purpose. Will we pursue Him? No doubt along her journey there were countless obstacles and reasons for this woman to get discouraged, distracted, or just settle for observing from afar. But God has power just waiting to be released to those who will engage Him.
Imagine if we all came to church with the intention of meeting with God and believing for His power. Imagine if we approached our individual quiet time with Him in the same way! I don’t want to get so familiar with God’s presence that I forget to come with anticipation. I want to be close to God, but proximity alone is not enough. God, Himself longs to reward those that will come to Him in faith, believing He is who He says He is and He does what He says He will do. That kind of faith pleases God. And isn’t pleasing Him what it’s all about?
And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that He is real and that He rewards the faith of those who give all their passion and strength into seeking Him. Hebrew 11:6
What is God asking you to believe Him for? How will you pursue Him in response?
Let’s not settle for proximity, when God wants to release His power.
*All scripture quoted from the Passion Translation