It’s funny how God uses my son’s bedtime to teach me. It happens a lot. I mean A LOT.
Every night, we read. For the first 4 or 5 years of his life, I read to him at bedtime. From a variety of Bible storybooks. My favorite was probably the Jesus Storybook Bible…I just loved how it tied every story back to Jesus. I’ve read on mission trips to Middle School students. I’ve read it by myself when I need to reminded of the simplicity of God’s ridiculous love for me.
After he learned to read, he started reading to me at bedtime. The book he has now, I can’t remember the name of it, is actual scripture section, not just a retelling of the stories. I think he’s read each of them to me twice, but he still loves it.
Last night, after he read about Jesus walking on the water, he asked me to find the one where the woman touched Jesus’ robe and was healed. So I found it and we marked it for tonight. Little did I know then that God was picking that story for me.
I’ve been reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. Great book. I’ve been chewing on it the past week or so. The simplicity of faith, of grace, of love. And how we over-complicate God’s plan by trying to be good enough or by beating ourselves up that we’re not good enough. And how sometimes these two extremes are separated by a span of seconds. And so I’ve been chewing, praying, meditating…asking God, “So what’s the key to getting past that.” The answer has been consistently, “Pursue Me.” But of course, I need more than that…because I’m not good enough, or I’m too good, or something.
So, tonight, my eight year old son preached a sermon that cut straight to the heart. The story of Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter is cool for a bunch of reasons. There’s a dead girl that comes back to life. There is a woman miraculously healed (and seemingly randomly thrown into the middle of the story). But even though I’ve heard and read this scripture dozens of times, it never struck me the common thread between the woman and Jairus coming to Jesus.
In Luke 8, it says:
41 Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. 42 His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying.
Jarius was a leader of the synagogue. A man of influence and power in the “religious elite” of the town. These were the people who all the through the gospels rejected Jesus. These were the people who killed Him. But here comes Jairus. He falls at Jesus’ feet and begs Jesus to come with him. Why? Because his daughter was dying, and he had no other options. He was desperate. Jesus was his only hope.
As Jesus is going to Jairus’ house, the woman interrupts Him.
As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. 43 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. 44 Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe…
This woman, who was “unclean” because of her bleeding according to Jewish law, came and touched Jesus. According to the law, she could have been punished. Why would she take that risk? For twelve years, she had tried everything to stop the bleeding and had no luck. She, like Jairus, was completely and totally desperate. Jesus was her only hope.
The stories continue on with the amazing miracles of Jairus’ daughter being raised from the dead and the woman being healed. But I’m not there yet…don’t get me wrong, I’ve got places in my life where I need miracles to happen. Lot’s of them. I’ve got plenty in my life that is dead and needs to be resurrected and places that are unclean that needs to be healed.
I’ve been trying to perform CPR on those dead areas and it just ain’t working. And I’ve been scrubbing those stains but they’re just not coming out. And I keep beating myself up over it, trying to figure out why I just can’t be good enough. As if being good enough is good enough.
But, tonight, God smacked me upside the head and said, “Ok…here’s the deal. You want those things cleaned up…that’s great and all. But what I want, is for you to be desperate for Me. Why don’t I just magically *poof* that stuff away? Because after you try everything else, you’ll realize you can’t do it yourself and I will be your only Hope.”
It’s funny…it’s a little scary to say, “Alright God, do what you need to do to make me desperately in need of You.” What if God takes away the things that I think I “need?” Or the things I like? What if I He takes my job away? My security? What if takes away someone I love? Or my health?
But then I remember the countless ways that God has shown Himself to me. And in every single one of those ways, I’ve seen that He is good. And that He loves me. And then suddenly that fear begins to wither away.
It changes the way I view myself and my struggles. Where once I saw my own inadequacy, now I see a reminder of His grace and forgiveness. Where once I saw my own shortcomings, now I see Him drawing me to a place of dependence on Him. And I see the need for desperation. And I have a desire for desperation.
So I pray that God will use whatever is needed to give me a single minded focus to pursue Him. My only Hope. To risk everything I have to get close to Him. And in that, I know that He will do some crazy cool stuff. Because God is still in the resurrection business, and there are some parts of my heart that need it.