We’re still in Luke.  Last night we covered another of my favorite stories, the hemorrhaging woman.  It’s a short story, just a few verses.  Basically this woman has been hemorrhaging for 12 years and spent all her money on doctors, trying to get well – to no avail.  She pretty much sneaks up close to Jesus in a crowd and touches the hem of His robe…and is instantly healed.  Jesus asks who touched Him, and His disciples tell Him there’s people all around, people are just pressed against Him.  Jesus insists somebody touched Him, because He felt power go out of Him.  The woman realizes she can’t hide and comes forward, tells everyone what happened, and Jesus calls her “daughter” and tells her to go in peace.

Now, the actual miracle itself is obviously very cool.  And, in Jesus’ signature move of complete restoration, He recognizes and values someone who, due to laws at the time, was a complete outcast.  A few years ago, a particular song made me realize there is more to the story: all the other people in the crowd who touched Jesus.

Everybodyduck was, and still is, one of my favorite bands – even though they have not been together for several years now.  Most of their songs are hilarious stories that make you realize, in the end, that you’re a moron (obviously their worship songs are a bit different).  But they have this one song called “Close” (you can listen/download it here) which is not funny at all and is told from the perspective of someone in that crowd – just as close to Jesus as the woman, but doesn’t experience anything except being in a crowd.  It’s a long song so I won’t type out the lyrics, and I couldn’t find them at all online – apparently Everybodyduck is a niche taste – but I think the refrain sums it up well:

But I was close
And I was still the same
I was close
Yet I felt nothing strange
With a simple touch before my eyes
A life was rearranged
But pressed up against Jesus
I was close
But nothing changed

But nothing changed.  How many close-to-God experiences do we have – Bible studies, retreats, camps, church every week – but do we really walk away changed?  The speaker in the song realizes that he touched Jesus, too, and the only thing that was different between himself and the woman whose entire life was changed was that her touch was made in faith.  How do I come to Jesus – in faith? out of duty? to meet other people’s expectations? because I feel like I have to? because it’s the thing to do? to be close to a celebrity?

I would like to answer that I always come in faith, but as I pondered this last night I was thinking about one of the other stories I really like: “If You are willing, You can heal me.”  And I think that is where my faith shuts down.  I believe He CAN…I am just not sure He wants to.  Maybe that’s why I like that little story about the leper so much: Jesus really, really wants to heal that guy.  I have seen, to my very great sadness, that Jesus does not always heal just because He can, and that knowledge has, I think, hampered my comprehension of how human brokenness affects Him.  Healing is not a mere chore to Him, something that can be done but will probably not be enjoyed; I think it gives Him great delight to see restoration.  But that restoration doesn’t always take place where I can see it, and perhaps it is my lack of faith that motivates me to respond with cynicism rather than joy if healing isn’t the way I wanted it.  A lot of times I think I come to Him out of a jaded skepticism, looking for proof that He WILL do the things that He can.

How do you come to Jesus?  Not just for “healing” – how do you, in general, come?  Do you touch Him in faith…or is it faithless contact?

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