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Oct
21

Hope for When You’re at the End of Your Rope:: 1

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Have you ever felt as though you were at the end of your rope? Maybe that’s how you feel today about your life. If you’ve never felt that sense of desperation, hold on, because the likelihood of you living your entire life not having experienced it is really, really small.

On Sunday I shared a simple story from the gospel of Mark that may prove to be a timely word of encouragement for those who feel at the end of their rope.

A large crowd followed and pressed around (Jesus). And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering” (Mark 5:25-29, NLT).

The story is very direct about the woman’s health problem. For over a decade she had battled some form of uterine disorder. She had seen every doctor imaginable and had spent everything she had. As time passed, she grew worse and worse. Beyond the obvious problem lies an equally difficult challenge. Because of the nature of her health needs she was ceremonially unclean. She couldn’t enter the Temple grounds. Like any leper she was forbidden to touch anyone or be touched by anyone, rendering her a societal outcast.

So what did she do? The first thing she did was express simple faith. She had heard about Jesus which allowed faith to germinate and sprout (Romans 10:17). Her faith wasn’t perfect, but imperfect faith is ok as long as the object of one’s faith is perfect. Once that faith began to rise she acted in humility. Luke’s account says that she touched “the hem of Jesus’ garment.” Assuming Jesus wore some form of robe, reaching the hem would have required her to either kneel or even lie prostrate on the ground to reach through the crowd to touch it. Jesus responded to her imperfect faith and genuine humility and granted her request. She was healed and she knew it.

She may have thought she could slip away unnoticed, but Jesus realized that someone had touched him and sensed that his healing power had gone out. In my opinion, Jesus knew exactly what had happened and who had touched him. But he demanded the woman give him the praise and glory for what he had done. On cue she stepped forward and for the second time knelt. Only this time it was in worship.

Tomorrow I’ll share three observations from this simple story that I trust will be helpful to you if you’re at the end of your rope in search of hope.

Categories : Hope

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