Dec 23, 2011, 1:13 PM
The woman who bled for twelve years resolved to change her story. Her mountain was literally crushing her. She had spent all her wealth visiting one doctor after another without any results. But “When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak...” (Mark 5:27) The thick crowd was not an obstacle on her path; she braved it despite the stigma. She wriggled her way through and had her mountain removed with a touch of Jesus’ garment. “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” (Mark 5:28) In an instant her bleeding ceased “... and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:29)
In the face of the problems the Children of Israel encountered in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, they lost heart and panicked. When the Egyptian army pursued them after they departed Egypt and death stared them in the face, they wanted to stone Moses. When they were hungry, they muttered; when they did not have water to drink they complained. “They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians? It would have been better to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert.” (Exodus 14:10-12) “But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food.” (Exodus 21:4-5)
The Children of Israel failed the test with the first problem that came their way. They were chicken-hearted, forgetting they did not come out of Egypt on their own. Moses encouraged them with, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14) The Egyptian army that gave chase drowned in the Red Sea.
We are God’s treasured possessions and therefore he will not distance himself from us, particularly at the height of our problems. He is our Father and our problems are equally his. Sometimes, he puts us in the ring to see how we would fare - whether we would faint or put up a fight. Life is a combat that we must win and God is there to back us if we do not quit. We must go through life knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrew 13:5)
The attitude of the Children of Israel clearly showed that they had not nurtured a relationship with God. He took them to the steps of the Promised Land and they refused to enter and possess it because they considered it suicidal having to fight the giants living in Canaan. It is not always that blessings are wrapped in glittering gift-paper or offered on a silver platter. Sometimes, we just have to surmount the obstacles put in our way. God had already given them Canaan; all that was needed was to possess it. When finally Joshua led them to take over Jericho it was an effortless conquest. Jericho crumbled before them like a pack of cards. God had the formula ready.
A wealthy and generous Shunammite woman who was barren was timid about voicing her most intimate desires; so when prophet Elisha wanted to reciprocate her kindness towards him, he promised her a son within a year. One day in his childhood, the boy died suddenly following a severe headache. It looked like disaster, but no. “She went up and laid him (her son) on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out” - in search of the prophet no doubt. Her comportment showed something had gone wrong but upon enquiry she responded: “It’s all right.” When the prophet saw her coming he sensed something had gone wrong, so he sent his servant Gehazi to find out; “Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?” To these questions she replied: “Everything is all right.” (2 Kings 4:26)
However, when she came up to the prophet she burst out “in bitter distress.” The prophet sent his disciple with his staff, giving him instructions to lay it on the boy’s face. That did not resolve the problem. He himself had to come to the scene. “He went in shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. Then he got on the bed and lay upon the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy’s body grew warm.” (2 kings 4:34) He stretched himself upon him a second time and the boy “sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.” He was brought back to life. Halleluiah!
The prophet then sent for the boy’s mother. “Take your son,” he said to her. “She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.” (verse 27)
However gigantic, complex or overwhelming the nature of our problems may be, God, who is the Creator of all things, has a solution at hand. Confide in him, trust him. Stop trying to look for stop-gaps or short-term measures that will not endure. Today, hand over your problem to Jesus, he is the answer.