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Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and suffered many things from many physicians.  She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.  Mark 5:25-26

First let me state for the record that I believe in going to physicians.  In fact, my wife is a cancer survivor and physicians have done wonderful things for her.  So this is not anti medicine.  What this is about is how we approach the problems that we have in life.  I believe this incident can teach us some great insights.

The woman has a physical problem.  We don’t know for sure, but initially it might have been a problem that she felt might go away on its own or she tried some home remedies to cure.  Whatever, the initial attempts, if any, they fail.  The woman obvious had some resources available to her.  At this point, she does the sensible thing.  She goes to see a doctor.  Given the brief description of her plight, the doctor she goes to, attempts something to cure her.  It fails.  We don’t know how long she went back to that first doctor, but because she is no better, she does the next sensible thing and goes to get a second opinion.  And so it goes, it appears over a 12 year period, she goes to many doctors.  Perhaps there are times when she is under the care of several physicians at a time.  Historically I don’t know if there was any sort of specialization of medical care back in those days.  Unfortunately, in each case it is to no avail.  Yet she keeps trying; what else is she to do?  Maybe she hears about a new treatment, or someone in another town that was healed of aliment similar to her’s.  Again we don’t know the specifics, but we do know is; after 12 years, she is physically worse, out of money and she is desperate.

We don’t know how long she had been following Jesus.  We don’t know if she had seen miraculous cures of other people.  However, what is clear, whether she witnessed them herself or heard about them from someone else, she approached Jesus with the certainty of a cure.  Please again, don’t misunderstand me.  I am not blaming the woman for her pursuit of a cure through doctors.  I’m not blaming her for keeping with it for 12 years.  In a world view, it makes perfect sense.  Almost as much as the miracle of the cure itself, I find there an additional miracle in her faith, after everything else had let her down; that she felt sure that all she had to do was touch Jesus’ clothes.  Also, don’t miss out on her humility.  She was not one to wail out about her troubles and make a spectacle of her healing.  In fact she might have even been scared, that since she snuck up on Jesus to touch Him, he might be mad about the impromptu healing.  So she fades back into the crowd.

Jesus stops.  He knows that he has healed someone, but it is not the physical healing that is the most important part, if it had been Jesus would have kept walking.  For after all he was going on an urgent mission to save a dying little girl.  Why did He call out to see whom it was that He had healed?  Was it a Madison Avenue marketing ploy, that He needed to show how great He was to the crowd?  No, because when the lady did come forward He didn’t shout to all:  “Look here see what I, the great, have done!”  He was determined that she understood, that it was so much more than the physical touch of her hand to His clothes that healed her.  He needed to let her know, and the rest of us vicariously, that it was the faith that led her to reach out and touch His clothes that made all the difference in the world.  That same faith that can and should be used over and over again, no matter what the circumstances.  For the woman to know: “Daughter, your faith has made you well.  Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”  He was not mad at her touching Him.  He was impressed, and she needed to know that.

Jesus Christ knows that this world brings us struggles.  He told us it would.  I believe he sighs and sadly shakes His head as he watches us attempt to overcome those struggles again and again without Him.  He longs for us to come humbly to Him, knowing in our hearts, if I can only get close enough to………………………..  Because Jesus knows His response, each and every time would be, Daughter/Son, your faith has made you well (successful, wise, fruitful, whatever word you want to add in there).  Go in peace.

So, yes it is fine to go to a doctor, a counselor, a lawyer, a mechanic, a teacher, a whoever.  But let us all go to Jesus Christ or our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ first with the full certainty, that our faith will not be in vain.  In our Father’s perfect plan, He will use others to help us out.  He just doesn’t want us to feel that any others are a substitute.  May all praise and adoration be given to He who truly deserves it; through the name of His Son Jesus Christ.

Amen

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will be no means enter it.  Mark 10:15

I want to first say to those who read this who live in a part of the world where there is much snowfall and many difficult tasks because of it, I do not want to minimize or trivialize the difficulty of those situations.

So I live in a place where it does not snow often.  On the few times a year that it does snow, most often it is looked at as a significant inconvenience to an outright danger.  It is true that things get closed and accidents happen.  Driveways and sidewalks have to be cleared, walking can become treacherous.  It is cold.

Yet whether here or when you see news reports concerning snow almost anywhere in the world, you see a very different reaction from children.  Children see snow as a wonder.  They see it as a gift.  A gift that is almost magical.  It is not rain which keeps them inside.  It’s not sunshine that is something that happens most everyday.  It is a wonderful transformation of their world into something that they can slide on, they can build things with, yes; in fun they can pack together and throw.  I saw this as I walked around my neighborhood recently when it snowed.  I was trudging slowly through the snow hoping not to slip and fall on the sidewalk, bemoaning the cold in my toes and fingers.  Yet at the same time I was hearing squeals of delight from children who gladly abandoned their indoor electronic games to explore and find blissful excitement in this winter wonderland.  I also noticed a marked difference in the response of adults.  Adults like myself, who were outside trying to cope with the inconvenience of the snow, did not display any joy in the moment.  Adults who were outside with their children were playing and building and seeing the gift of the moment through the eyes of their children.  The cynical would say the children’s joy only comes from the day off from school.  I might have tended to agree with that assessment had it not been for the fact that it was a Saturday.

And this is the rub.  We adults say to ourselves:  “They will grow out of it”.  And sadly they probably will.  Children will mature and will be taught by us adults the true aspects of life.  Life is hard and it is the hard who become successful.  To take the time to look for the good in a situation is only looking at things with “rose colored glasses” and as such is a waste of time.  Be suspicious of things you don’t understand and challenge people to prove it, before you believe it.  Expect that everything and everyone will let you down so guard your trust and withhold your faith.  The really good things in life cost a lot.

Jesus Christ sighs.  Surrounded by adults who are trying to block children from coming to Him, even some of His closest disciples, Jesus rebukes them and pulls the children close, to a place of honor right in front of Him and He imparts a priceless lesson.  When it comes to Our Heavenly Father and believing in Him, be like a child.

For many of us, there was a time when we believed that our parents were all powerful.  There was a time that no request of a parent seemed silly or impossible.  There was a faith that our parents would provide for every need that we had.  That our parents were the ultimate repository of knowledge and wisdom, able to correctly answer any question, no matter how many whys attached.  As we grow, we learn the human limitations of our earthly parents.

As Christ uses examples of nature, lilies and sparrows to illustrate the great lengths our Heavenly Father goes to support His creation, He extols us to understand how much more valuable we are in Our Father’s Eyes and how much more He desires, through a loving relationship, to provide for us and keep us safe.  As adults we would say (as the Jewish leaders said to Christ) prove it and then I’ll believe. Christ says that we can ask anything of the Father, to include moving mountains, and if we believe, it will happen.  Adults reply: “Be real, that can’t happen” scoffing at the concept, relying on ourselves and becoming mute to asking of and communing with Our Father.

We often use words like magical to describe that time of life we call childhood.  And then because we don’t believe in magic we dismiss that time as a time of whimsy and fantasy with little to no lasting impact.  Christ sighs.  Being One with the Father and a human being, Christ understands.  He understands that eventually we will ask things of an earthly father, they can’t answer or can’t supply.  Yet even more, Christ understands that, with the Heavenly Father, there is no request too large for the Creator of everything in the universe or too trivial for a Father who knows us each by name for He formed us in the womb.

May it be that we will be like a child with Our Heavenly Father, knowing with all certainty that He will supply all things perfectly.  May it be that we believe, whether we understand or not, that the Father’s plan is perfect and the more that we can be obedient to that plan the better it will be for us.  May we look at God’s creation with the excitement and wonderment of a child, being ever ready to squeal with excitement and ever flowing with thanksgiving and praise.  May we be open to His Love, seeing that He holds nothing back, even the life of His Precious Son Jesus Christ, to bring us into a loving relationship with him.

Amen

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