Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Master's Hem

      I have not fallen off of the face of the earth. I promise. I have simply taken a break to regroup, and continue my focus on my schoolwork, family, and ministry. However, I do have a very exciting announcement. After my recent MRI I have been declared to be IN REMISSION in my disease. My family and I couldn't be happier, more blessed, more humbled, and more in awe of our faithful and precious Father. In 4.5 years, this is the first time I have experienced remission, and just saying the word is beautiful music in my mouth and to my ears. My nurse called with results the Friday before Christmas, and it took the next few days for it to sink in: I have no new lesions, no active lesions, no new damage, and I am stable. These results grouped with my lack of new symptoms signal remission. While MS is still residing in my body, it is currently "asleep" as I like to say, and my health is doing beautifully.
      I cannot thank everyone enough for their prayers, words of encouragement, and support in every way imaginable over the course of this disease. My friends and family, and some whom I've never met, have served as constant reminders of God's faithfulness.  If it weren't for you and your partnership with us in the gospel with the Lord, I don't know where I'd be. I owe my life to Him...no matter how tattered and worn this body may be, it will always praise Him. I believe whole-heartedly that He is the Great Physician.    
      One of my favorite scripture sections in the Word can be found in Mark 5. Jesus was traveling through a heavy crowd; people were pushing on all sides just trying to get a piece of Him. A woman who'd suffered for 12 years with "an issue of blood" saw Him and she said, "If I could just touch Him...." I can feel her desperation, and almost see her fingers in my mind as she spreads them out in the attempt to get to her Savior. Finally, she pushed her way to the Healer, grasped the hem of His robe, and immediately she was healed as the fabric engulfing Him slid between her thumb and fingertips. Jesus knew when His healing power had left His body and traveled through hers. I can only imagine the beauty of wellness that surged through her veins as the power that created them pushed through her broken and tired body, bringing with it health and life. Jesus asked who had touched Him, but the disciples following Him were befuddled. "Everyone has touched You, Master."
      "But I felt it specifically," He replied, His face mirroring concern as intuition took over.
      And he saw her. She knelt before Him and He blessed her for her faith, telling her that she was healed and whole. Can you imagine the silent exchange between the two of them as their eyes met, a bustling and boisterous crowd in their periphery, but none of it mattering. Jesus knew who had touched Him; He was God. He knew the pain and sickness that had wreaked havoc on her spirit's shell for twelve agonizing years. He wasn't averse to healing her if she'd simply asked. But the circumstances of her healing remind us of God's all surpassing power that we can't bottle up and seal with a prescription. There have been times when I've wondered if God was too crowded with people to feel my measly presence close to Him. Had he forgotten me? No, He knew I was there because He felt His healing passing between the two of us, and His eyes never lost mine in the crowd.
      A few months ago, Jordan and I were going through some very difficult spiritual warfare. In fact, it was the worst and most devastating we'd ever been through. It was causing strange problems with my disease and I was beginning to wonder if I would make it out of the situation untouched health-wise. One afternoon I was praying for Jordan and all that he had to endure through the situation--the painful growth we were sustaining. It was as if we were in the middle of a hurricane and only our faces were above the water, at short intervals, just long enough for us to catch a quick breath. On this particular day my heart was giving out and up. I had nothing left. I fell on my bedroom floor, face down, and cried out to my Savior. I laid there in a puddle of tears and reached my hands out before me, clenching them into fists as if I were grasping something. Then I prayed, "Just let me touch the hem of Your robe. I know there's healing there." The presence of God surrounded me and the joy of Lord filled me to overflowing. I was crying and laughing and praying....my heart was soaring. I don't know if that was when remission kicked in, or if it was just a spiritual healing or a connection I made with my Father, but that is the closest I have ever felt to Him.
       Jesus isn't a passerby in a crowd who only heals the physically sick. He's the beauty and wonder felt in the relationship that guides us through life and inspires us in its many ups and downs, reminding us that we are never alone. Eye contact and heart contact are always made, and never unattended. The healing isn't just physical, it's spiritual, mental, and emotional.
      My story and the woman's story in Mark aren't any different than anyone else's, we just have a physical example. However, we all have a spiritual one. The two most important parts of the story highlight the woman's faith and Jesus' remark of wholeness. It's essentially a story of salvation. We're all sick; but faith grasps Jesus' hem and believes in His saving grace, the power that makes us new and whole in Him.

Zechariah 8:23*




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