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January 5, 2017

Don’t Run Away


God will mend a broken heart if you give him all the pieces. 

—Aesop 


Hiding and healing are not the same thing. You and I don’t gain anything by denying our brokenness. We might like to resolve troubles immediately, but when it comes to our hearts, there are no quick fixes. We aren’t equipped to instantly heal. Instantly move on. The woman in today’s story learns that healing begins with coming out of hiding…and running to Jesus. Crying out to him. Being gut honest.

In the Word



• Read Luke 8:40-48 today and pay special attention to verses 47-48:




Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."


It’s often been said that “desperate people do desperate things.” This woman was desperate. She had been bleeding for 12 years, but the doctors couldn’t find a cure. In that culture, she had become an outcast. Sickness was viewed as God’s divine judgment for a misguided, sinful life.

To the people in her day, she had become less than nothing, but there was something special about her—she still had an ounce of hope. She had heard of a Rabbi who could work miracles of healing, and he was her last, thin thread of hope for a cure. She heard that he was passing through her town, so she stationed herself in the growing crowd outside. Finally he came into view. He was going to walk right past her!

At that moment, the woman did something radical. Desperate, she bent down and reached through the legs of the people in front of her. With all the strength she had in her sick and frail body, she reached out for life. For healing. For Jesus. When she touched him, she was immediately healed!

Suddenly, her delight changed to panic. The man had stopped and was walking back toward her. The crowd parted, and he caught her eye. She felt terribly exposed, but something in his expression told her he was safe. She fell at his feet and told him the whole story, “in the presence of all the people.” The same people that had ostracized her all these years.

Jesus didn’t try to rush her, even though he had been hurrying to the side of a dying girl. He patiently listened, smiled and said tenderly, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Make it Real

Can you imagine hearing those words after 12 years of suffering? Here’s the point: Healing does not happen when we run away from our pain. When we are hurting, all we want is relief—and we want it now! But God wants to use every moment to deepen our relationship with him. On that busy street, Jesus could have kept right on walking, but he didn’t. A hurting woman had been touched by his power, and he wanted to connect and show his love for her.

God doesn’t want a business relationship with us, his daughters. We are more than consumers of his grace products. He loves us deeply, and desires an intimate, loving relationship with us. One of my favorite word pictures of God’s heart is in Isaiah’s prediction of the Messiah: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42:3).

This insight changes how I respond to hurt and pain in my life. Instead of just wanting it over quickly, I believe God will show up and make himself real to me in the midst of it. Pain and disappointment can cause us to doubt God’s goodness and love. But we can’t judge God’s faithfulness by our perception. We must trust that God is at work, even when we can’t see him.

Revisit Luke 8:40-48. What do you think it meant to this woman for Jesus to stop and talk with her?

Why is it important to understand that God wants a relationship with us, not just to give us pain relief?


Run
. We all do it. How have you been running from your pain and brokenness?

What would it look like for you to “reach out” to Jesus?

Take a moment to read each one of these verses and think about how they apply to your life. Wherever you can do it, insert your name in the verses. Pray these passages over your heart.



• “O Lord my God, I cried out to you, and you have healed me” (Psalm 30:2).
• “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds…Great is our Lord, and mighty in power…” (Psalm 147:3). 

• “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).


Heart to Heart

I play “hide and seek” with God, sometimes. As much as I want to know God, when I’m hurting or afraid, I kind of prefer to hide. In my head, I know I should run to Jesus, the source of my life and hope, but sometimes, in the moment of strife, I just want to run away.
Disappointment. Frustration. Anguish. Failure. In moments like these, what do we do?


• We choose to hide. Behind our makeup. Behind our outfits. We’re say we’re fine.


• We choose to run away. We think we can outrun our pain, and leave it in the past.


• We choose to sit and do nothing. We are enveloped by our pain, and we give up hope.


Many of us paste on a smile, but inside, our hearts are dying. Why do we hide, run away, sit paralyzed? Several reasons, maybe. We’re afraid of being exposed. Of getting hurt to a greater extent. We’re desperately trying to stay in control and fix ourselves and our situations. We’re prideful. Selfish. We don’t want other people to see our weakness.

Here’s the amazing thing: God invites us to cry out to Him. To run to Him. To be completely, ruthlessly honest with Him. About everything, whether it’s conflict with our spouse, rebellious kids, stress at work, or any number of the daily realities that we women face.

“Come to me,” Jesus invites us. “All you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you
rest” (Matthew 11:28).


Jesus, I want to reach out and touch you. I need healing for my hurt, my pain. Speak to me like you did with the woman who reached out and touched you.

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