Last night I was reading the passage about the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, and was healed when she reached out to touch Jesus’ cloak.
For some reason, the fact that she reached out grabbed my attention, so I let it sit there for a little while.
I was thinking about how it must have felt to be that woman. Bleeding for 12 years! That might sound hard and awful, but I will never be able to grasp what that was actually like for her. Beyond the physical suffering, there was also the label that she had to live under – a woman who was bleeding was considered “unclean”. That woman was “unclean” for 12 long years. That meant that anything she would touch, anywhere she would sit or lie down, would be unclean and have to washed afterward. Any person who touched her would be unclean. Any person who touched what she had sat or lain down on would be unclean.
She had spent 12 years trying not to touch anyone.
And yet she reached out to touch Jesus.
What must it have taken for her to do that? I tried to imagine what it must have felt like, to be that woman, waiting by the side of the road. To see Him coming through the crowds of people, knowing that this was her only chance.
And then to actually stretch out her hand and touch Jesus.
She was healed instantly. I tried to imagine the power of that moment, and I began to pray that Jesus would reach out and touch me, too.
But I stopped right there as it hit me – when I pray, I ask Jesus to reach out to me. To reach out to heal me, reach out to touch me, reach out His hand to touch my heart, my life. But this woman reached out to Him.
He is always there, right there with me. What if He’s waiting for me to reach out to touch Him?
Is there a difference?
Praying that God would reach out to me is very easy – I pray some lazy, easy words, and He does all the work. I want His miraculous power working in my life with very little effort from me. Reach out to touch me.
But reaching out to Him takes faith. It takes initiative and movement. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James4:8)
He promises His presence, but He also invites us to come to Him. I don’t want to just sit around, waiting for Him to come get me. I want to go to Him, reach out to Him, take a leap of faith and jump to Him! Pursue Him.
Reach out to touch Him.
There’s a song by Caedmon’s Call with the words, “Swing Your robe down low.” I always picture the robe of God sweeping across the sky, hanging low enough to the earth for us all to touch it. So close, Him waiting for us. Offering Himself to us.
I close my eyes and reach out my hand to Him. And it does feel different. I’m the one reaching, accepting, inviting, pursuing. I’m having faith that He is there, that there is Someone to reach my hand out to.
Swing Your robe down low.