Is It Worth the Risk?

What is this bright and shiny thing in the sky?

It’s the sun!

The sun is shining!

So, join in me in a collective sigh of relief and shout for joy as we are able to get just a taste of the Vitamin D we all so desperately need.  Without it, we may resort to violence.  That would be bad…in case you need a reminder!  IMG_2265-1

Our small group was challenged to read the Bible cover to cover this year.  It has been really great to be go through the pages of this Book with everyone.  We are mostly all in the same place and we get to discuss things that we’ve never noticed before in stories.  We talk about things we find that we have usually just grazed over and the great impact there is when you slow down and pay attention.

For me, it was the story of the women with the issue of blood.

I have read this story more times than I can count.  Heard messages preached on it, and even sung about it.

I picture a woman all hunched over with her face hidden behind a cape (kind of like the old women who gives the rose to the prince at the beginning of Beauty and the Beast).  She is trying to slip unnoticed through the crowd just to get a glimpse of the back of Jesus.

She has heard of His healing, of His unprecedented inclusion of those no one wants, and she has to see if it’s true.  Maybe if she could just slip through the crowd and touch him; unnoticed.   She would then go back to her isolation, but at least she will have seen Him for herself.  She wouldn’t only hear the stories this time.  She was going to experience Jesus.

She only wanted to see his back, to feel the crowd around her and touch His robe.  She has a feeling that if she can just touch Him things will change.  She isn’t sure why, but she knows it in her heart.

And, she does!  She makes it to him.  And, with head bowed low, she reaches out her hand and just skims the edge of His robe.  But, as she reaches out her hand, touches him and prepares go back, He speaks to her!  He could feel her.  He knew she was there.

And, he HEALS her.  

The Bible says she was well from that moment on.

The healing power of Jesus is amazing.  It was radiating off of him, even oozing off of clothes.  How cool would it have been to experience THAT in person?!  And, He felt her, even in the crowd when she was trying to hide.  Even when she was just wishing for a touch of His hem.  It’s incredible.

The difference this time when I read the story, is that instead of just seeing the miracle and the faith, all I can see is His love.

He could have let her go.  He didn’t have to draw any attention to her in the crowd.  He could have let His healing touch be enough and let her sneak back home.  But He didn’t.   He stopped her, turned around, and looked her in eyes.  Letting her see His heart while He looked at hers.

It was just as much His love as her faith that healed her.

He knew she wouldn’t be whole if she was left her sneak back to her isolation.  Jesus wanted complete healing of her body and her heart.  She was willing to settle for just physical healing and He wouldn’t let her leave without healing her soul too.

She could have left.  She was hidden in the crowd.  We know this because with the disease she had she was required to make her presence known; especially, around a multitude of people.  But, he called to her.  And, instead of turning away and leaving, she risked just one more second in His presence.  It was then that she felt her heart stop bleeding too.

How many times have we come to Jesus just wanting a glimpse?  Just wanting one moment with Him?  Just to touch His hem.  I’m not saying that a touch is not enough; but what if He wants to give us more and we are so concerned with getting back to our isolation and safety, that we miss out?  Instead of turning towards His voice after we get our healing, we turn back and hide in the crowd?

We are all hemorrhaging.  We all have situations in our lives that cut us deeply and make us feel like the bleeding will never stop.  We think if Jesus will just stop the bleeding we can handle the rest on our own.

He wants so much more for us.  He wants to give a completeness that is only found in Him.  A wholeness that takes us out of our safe place and puts us in the middle of a beautiful, risk-taking life filled with His goodness and unfailing love.

I am choosing happy today because Jesus’ love for me is complete.  He didn’t let this woman slip quietly away and handle the rest of her healing alone; He called to her and she risked another second to look at Him.  He showed her that His healing and love are always complete.  He does the same for us; we only need to be willing to stay a second longer.

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Call the Midwife

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First of all, NO! This is not an announcement of any sort!  And if any of you watch the PBS show, Call the Midwife, your first thought was of Jenny Lee, Chummy, Sister Monica Joan, and what in the world is going to happen to Poplar if they really do demolish Nonnatus house! I have been binge watching this show on Netflix and love it!  This show is perfect!  But, for all of you who don’t watch the show, you have either stopped reading or are waiting for me to get to my point!!!

Well, here it is…..what stands out to me most as I watch this show, is the sense of community that is conveyed in each episode.  Everyone helps.  They share with each other, they watch out for each other, and most of all they depend on one another.  I can’t help but see that this no longer the norm in our culture, and I don’t think that is how we were meant to live.

I recently read a post on Facebook about storm that had knocked out power in a nearby community, and how it would have been great if instead of having a service on Sunday, the churches would have opened their doors and served the community.  I thought it was an awesome idea!  How much of an impact could have been made just by letting someone charge their phone, take a shower, or have some warm coffee.  In reading the comments you could see that the majority felt that it would take too much planning, or that it was good idea in theory but really not that practical when it came to practice…….are we really so out of the practice of serving and helping one another that it takes planning to give of ourselves?!!!  I am not criticizing  any of the opinions shared by those who responded, but I have to admit I was surprised at how out of practice we are at helping one another or accepting the help of others.

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We were NOT meant to isolate ourselves from one another and do everything on our own.  We were NOT meant to sit in our houses and get our socialization from Facebook (ugh, that one hurt a little bit).  We were NOT meant to sit in a church service on Sunday and think only of ourselves (ooooo, that one hurt too).  God created us to be relational; with Him and with each other.  We need each other.  As much as we need God, we need each other.  So, here is where I am going to plug getting involved in a small group 😉

I love our small group!  They have been such a blessing in my life and I know that I can depend on any one of them to be there if I need something.  It wasn’t always like that; we needed to learn to depend on each other and trust each other.  That meant investing time and energy into getting to know one another.  That meant letting people help when I wanted to do it on my own, and it meant helping them when I wasn’t really up to it.  But the investment has paid off in ways I cannot even begin to explain!

I think one of the biggest lies we believe is that being independent is the greatest strength.  We find comfort in the chaos of not letting anyone help us, and we find solitude in quiet of not helping anyone else.  After all, there is no possible way we can be everything to everybody so why even try?  Philippians 4:13-14 (The Message) says this: Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through ANYTHING in the One who make me who I am.  I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me-it did.  It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.

It is a beautiful thing to help someone.  It is a beautiful thing to be helped.  So, take a meal to a neighbor this week.  Let someone pick your kids up from school if they offer.  Go for a walk around your neighborhood and stop to chat and find out what’s going on in the lives of your community.  On this very windy Monday, I am going to do my best to Choose Happy by looking for ways to step outside my sometimes too independent self.  The sense of community that seems to be a thing of the past is only an act of kindness away.