Are you regularly drawn to God like the way teens are to Taco Bell or whatever their favorite food stop is? When we understand how capable God is for handling the hard stuff of our lives we will keep coming back. When we know our needs will be met, we will meet with God again and again. Similar to the reliability of our favorite restaurant God offers consistent sustenance to us. Connected to God our lives are sustained. But what about the weeks when everyone has demanding needs? The times when I’m hit with a storm and so are the friends I often look to for help? It is in this place we often question God’s ability. The analogy with Taco Bell falls short to really understand.
Think of this like an ER room with all the urgent and severe cases overcrowding one another. This happened with Jesus. He was in Capernaum when a struggling father came to Jesus fell at his feet earnestly asking for help for his daughter. Don’t overlook this detail. He is at a point of vulnerability to fall in front of everyone at the feet of Jesus especially because he is a known leader. Prayer is a place for surrender and vulnerability. In our need there is no room for pride.
Jesus is responsive and heads out to help, to go with him to heal his daughter. However, a crowd is pressing Jesus because everyone has heard of his ability and reputation. Everyone wants something from Jesus. There in the crowd a woman who is in mandatory isolation approaches. She is bold to ignore the health and safety guidelines of the day. Not identifying herself as unclean she quietly reaches out to touch his cloak, her line of thought is, if I touch his clothes I will be healed. And when she does the miracle happens. Jesus stops. Faith heals. Isolated no more. Can you relate? If you were in quarantine with a case of Covid and you recovered you can relate to her relief. The father however can not relate in this moment he hits a limitation wall. Human limitation hits hard when the news of his daughter’s death arrives. Jesus overhears and if this was a musical he would have sung “don’t stop believing”. In the days that you feel down and overlooked hold on to your faith and trust.
When you feel like God is unable to attend to your need because all the needs around you have crowded you out DON’T STOP. Turn Psalm 25 into a prayer.
My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am _________________________. lonely and afflicted Ps. 25:15 Fill that blank in with where you are at.
This Psalm is suggesting a connection issue is the root of the problem. It sounds like 2020. Disconnected and afflicted. How is your heart? How connected do you feel, to God, to a support system?
Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. (v.17-18)
When we look at the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, forgiveness is a huge part of God’s will. Forgiveness is a source of relief from heart anguish and it reestablishes GOD connection. Forgiven we sleep well at night.
Jesus came to make the connection we need most. Unconditional love and “more than enough” capacity Jesus shows us God is able to handle what is impossible with human help. Religion in Mark 7 is all about the outward, and Jesus came to relieve the heart. More than outward appearances. He answers the question, IS there room for my need? Is there a savior for me even if the timing is all screwed up?
Let’s return to the example God is trying to show us. The father in the story must have been crushed by the missed opportunity because this woman jumped in ahead of him. That day time was the enemy for his daughter to make it. However Jesus goes with him home straight into the from bad to worse circumstances. It’s there in his home Jesus offers an extension of hope in the midst of the crushing chaos of her death Jesus suggests she is only sleeping. Those listening respond by laughing at Jesus. So Jesus puts them all out and with only his disciples and the parents he commands the little girl to get up. Immediately she stood up and began to walk around. Astonishment hits everyone. And right there Jesus gives undeniable proof of the good will of God again, and says give her something to eat. He cares about the next steps beyond just restoring her life. God’s capacity to care beyond your crisis and into your everyday is real. Beyond healing the panic and pain he provides the daily bread. The simple needs are mentioned as well. Why of all the things this is mentioned is giving her food brought up? Consider it for a minute. Reflect back on the prayer he taught, each day has daily bread, daily needs, these too are important.
Jesus is expanding our understanding of our good God. Mark goes on into chapter 6 with Jesus giving others authority and connection to heal to help to share this gospel. They are sent out with another person leaving no one alone in mission. Jesus is a social architect of connection even in service. He empowers others. He cares for people well. He meets our needs for community and support. He shows us how he does everything well.
Mark 6:56 And wherever he went–into villages, towns or countryside–they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Currently there is a rising pandemic of mental health struggles so many are overwhelmed with the struggle. It’s now we need to be bold like that original woman who was the first to touch his clothes for healing. We have got to get a hold of Jesus. Let’s learn from her how to be transparent. When Jesus asked what was going on, she was open about what happened to her. This shared transparency let other’s know recovery was possible. Her circumstances and her exact way of getting healed in Mark 5 are directly replicated wherever Jesus went in Mark 6. Her breakthrough faith sets a new normal in the faith of others, they too can touch his clothes for healing. This is why we share both our burdens and our blessings.
Consider how different this is than what we normally think. We often go quiet in sharing our needs because someone else is struggling. Or we don’t share about our good things because another is going through something far more challenging. However this line of thought is wrong. We are trying to protect others when God has enough for all. When they understood correctly who Jesus was and that he had no capacity limit on compassion, they were ALL healed. We need this understanding–to know God is good, and has all authority and power in heaven and earth to do whatever is needed. (Matt. 28:18) Don’t disqualify your need, even when the timing is all off. Don’t count yourself out because of another’s more urgent need. Wait on God by digging further into his nature.
Elijah in the throw down at Mount Carmel says, “the God who answers by fire is GOD.” (1 Kings 18) One man’s faith in God against 450 followers of false gods. Their attempts have zero results. He however says pour water on the wood and around it. With four water jugs they pour water three times over the offering. And God still answers. His answers exceed expectation. Everything is consumed. He settles the record he alone is GOD. Jesus is doing the same. He is defining the character and nature of God. God is able to sustain us. So in your mirco group this week, let all the needs be shared. This is a safe place. This is where we meet with God and ALL make connection to GOD OUR source for whatever is needed from forgiveness to lunch–HE HAS YOU COVERED.
The last drop of truth today I’ll leave you with is this statement about Jesus in Mark 7:36-37 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more He did so, the more they kept talking about it. (The way you can’t hide a good thing.) People were overwhelmed with amazement. “HE has done everything well,” they said He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Nothing is off limits for our God. Take care and ask for help. Trust you are on the He makes it beautiful plan. (Ecc. 3:11)