There is young lady that works at a local restaurant, pleasant disposition, soft voice and a sweet smile. She is well suited for serving. Through discussions with my wife, we found out that she had not been feeling well and the doctors cannot seem to get a handle on what was wrong. There are days where she is upbeat and others when see seems to struggle behind her smile. She reminds me of the woman in the bible that could not be healed. She was ashamed and felt unworthy to approach Jesus.
For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition…Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Mark 5:28, 33-34 – NLT
She had exhausted all her options until all that was left was faith, and that was enough.
On this particular day, I saw this young lady, doing her job with her ever present smile. As I approached her, I said it looked like she was having a good day. The sparkle in her eyes faded into a weary, knowing look and she said she was trying her best. It was apparent that her condition was taking its toll. As I drove away, my thoughts turned to prayer. “I wish there was something we could do to heal her.” The choice of words caught me off-guard. What can “we” do? I cannot heal; I cannot do miracles, at least not on my own.
In the book “The Shack” by William P. Young, the main character, Mack, was walking next to Jesus, consumed in conversation. When they came to the edge of the lake, Jesus invited Mack to walk across. It took some coaxing, but finally, he stepped onto the water and they continued on their way. When it was time to go back, Mack started into the water, but sunk to his knees into the water below. His next step was shallower and he continued rising until he was on the surface. He looked and Jesus was standing beside him saying, “This always works better when we do it together, don’t you think?”
How many times have I ventured onto the waters alone and found myself sinking, until Jesus was walking beside me? How often have I turned to prayer asking God to do something and assumed my work was done?
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21-22 – NIV
Admittedly, I do not have enough faith to move mountains, but I believe we will receive what we pray for if it is in line with God’s will.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18 – NIV
“Pray in the Spirit” so this does “work better if we do this together.” And “always keep on praying”
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21-22 NIV.
Persistent, repetitive prayer has always raised questions for me. Is continued prayer a lack of belief if you don’t see your mountains moving? Are we like a petulant child, whining in the grocery store for a piece of candy? Do we continue to ask until we get the answer we want?
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 – NIV
Paul prayed persistently yet the answer was no, albeit ever so lovingly, “My grace is sufficient for you”. Jesus prayed multiple times about the upcoming cross:
“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 NIV
Paul and Jesus pleaded with God but ultimately submitted to the will of God.
“If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” does not always mean it will happen on your timetable. Sometimes, we have to wait for an answer to manifest itself, either “yes” or “no” or “wait, I have something greater planned.” Persistent prayer is a chance to grow in patience, in faith, and a good reason to commune with our Creator.
Perhaps the young lady at the restaurant does not have the strength or the faith to reach out and touch the robe of Jesus, or maybe she does. Maybe I have the faith to reach out, but not enough belief to result in the healing. Or maybe God has a greater plan in His timing. The puzzle pieces may be gathering, so that her healing could bring glory to God and to extend the hand of Jesus to others. And maybe, just maybe, the situation stood in my path to offer a bit of wisdom. Either way,
Persistently praying for healing
Reaching for One Touch of His robe
And Blessed in Great Measure
I would love to hear your story of touching the robe of Jesus.
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