Pain, disappointment, sorrow, and loss happen to both believers and unbelievers, but as Christ-followers we have the assurance that God will work together for our good all the things that happen to us in His time. That doesn’t make it easy when we face circumstances that we can’t control and situations that cause deep pain, but it does give us hope and faith that the outcome is in God’s hands. For the woman in our story, suffering had been her lot for twelve years, it had drained her of her health, her finances, her social life, even her home life was greatly affected. By religious law she was considered to be ceremonially unclean, so she could not touch anyone. She must have been very discouraged and weary after so many years of failing health with no helpful treatment, no healing. When she heard about Jesus and his miracles, she knew she had to get to him, however she could. She probably tried to disguise herself, cover up so she wouldn’t be identified. She pressed through the crowd, no doubt touching a lot of people in her effort, and at last she got close enough to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe. Her action was even more scandalous because a rabbi was not to be touched by anyone, yet she dared to defy all the obstacles so she could reach Jesus, because she believed she would be healed, and she was.
Scriptures – Romans 8:28; Mark 9:23-29; Galatians 6:9
Verses – We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Ro 8:28) “All things are possible for the one who has faith.” (Mk 9:23) A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 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 5:23-29)
Thought – The blessing is in the pressing. If she had not pressed on and moved forward in faith she would have missed out on the healing God had in store. To get to Jesus she had to do some things that we also must do if we are to move forward and press on in our faith. 1) We must press past the pain. Pain can paralyze you, whether it’s an illness, or the health of a loved one, a relationship, finances, grief, loss, anxiety, or whatever. If you are immobilized by it, you are settling for less than God wants for you. Press toward Jesus because Jesus is always the answer. 2) We must press past disappointment. You may be overwhelmed and discouraged from all that doesn’t work out as you’d hoped. Miracles are found in movement. You can’t control everything, but you can keep moving forward. 3) We must press past religion. Religion may tell you that you’re too messed up for God to love. Your guilt and shame make you feel unworthy, unfit to seek or worship God, and beyond forgiveness. God loves you and calls you to come to him just as you are. You don’t have to clean up first to come to Jesus. 4) We must press past people and the fear of what they think. There are doubters and haters and those who try to pull you away from your faith. Some try to make you doubt God’s power. Some just don’t want your life to be better than theirs. If you are surrounded with the wrong people, you must press past them and find positive influences, people who want the best for you and encourage you to continue pressing toward Christ. Don’t give up, don’t stop, don’t get mired in your circumstance. The blessing is in the pressing.
Questions – Have you stopped pressing forward in some situation? Explain. How are you pressing forward in a circumstance that is troubling you? How does your relationship with Jesus compel you to keep moving? Have you ever settled for less than God’s best? Explain. When have you pressed forward and realized God’s best? Explain.
Response – If you have stopped pressing in some area, get moving. Surround yourself with Godly influence.
Prayer – Dear Lord, keep me moving forward, seeking, pressing, and striving to be close to you. I want all that you have promised me and I will not settle for less. Thank you for your word! In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.