Just…

Read: Numbers 11-13, Mark 5:21-43

Just is a big word. I just need more time. It was just a little. If I could just… A lot of weight can rest on those four letters. Other words associated with it include: nearly, almost, merely, barely, or close. It gives a feeling of reaching. A last effort before giving in to failure.

The latter portion of Mark 5 talks about two people who just.

…because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

Mark 5:28 (NIV)

These words were spoken by a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She’d spent all of her money on doctors and, instead of getting better, only got worse. Her last ditch effort was to just touch Jesus’ clothing.

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Mark 5:36 (NIV)

Just believe? The man’s daughter had been declared dead. What was he supposed to believe? He’d come to Jesus for healing, but to bring his little girl back to life? Already, going to see Jesus would have been his last ditch effort. As a ruler in the synagogue, he would have been a learned man, well-acquainted with the law. He would have known process over promise. Yet here was Jesus very matter-of-factly telling him to just believe.

I think that we too often wait too long to get Jesus’ attention. We believe that we must have all of his attention to get our miracle. Our just is desperate, like the woman. We’re straining and reaching, hoping to get just enough to get by. We have nothing more but that last push. It works, but it doesn’t have to be like that.

But, we have Jesus’ full attention, like the synagogue ruler. Jairus had more of Jesus’ attention than anyone else. It was to his home that Jesus was going to. The just he needed, according to Jesus, was simple. A meh, don’t worry about it, I got this.

You get to pick what you just want to do. Do you just want to reach out and brush the hem, fighting your own battle, pushing against the crowd, crawling toward Jesus? Or to you just want to believe, walking beside Jesus, trusting everything is alright no matter what the facts say?

The good news is, that no matter where you find yourself, both ways work. If you can do nothing more than just touch, that’s okay. Or if you’re in a place where you can just believe, that’s okay, too.

He hears

Sometimes, when I pray, I feel as though I’m praying against a wall. There are occasions where I wonder what I’m doing. Am I really talking to someone? Is someone up there or around here really listening?

But then there are moments in prayer or worship where I know the presence of God. English isn’t enough to explain it. In Spanish, there are two words for the verb “to know”. One refers to a general knowledge. Something learned. The other refers to a personal knowledge. To know someone more intimately. Not just to know of them.

God wants us to not just know of Him, but to know Him. Intimately. But how are we supposed to do that when we can’t even see Him, hear Him, touch Him? How do we even know He’s out there listening?

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

Hebrews 11:6 says that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Are you going to feel the presence of God every moment of every day? Probably not. But when you enter into prayer or worship, like Hebrews says, believe that He is. God has promised us that, if we go to Him in belief and humility, He will hear. And when He hears, He answers. When He answers, we are blessed and He receives glory.

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV)

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 7-9; John 13:1-17

Touch and see

Do you ever doubt that Jesus lives in you? Does it ever cross your mind that, maybe, this whole Christianity thing is one great big hoax that has been fooling millions of people for millennia?

Doubt is not the problem. Our response to it is.

And he said to them, “Why are you trouble, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

Luke 24:38-40 (ESV)

Jesus accepted the doubt of the very men who walked with him. Rather than rebuking them, he gave them proof.

Draw near to God, and he he will draw near to you.

James 4:8a (ESV)

This is one story among countless others. For many of us raised in the church, we may find it difficult to remember a single defining moment in our faith. But for people like the man in the video, God went out of His way to show Himself to a single person who was doubting.

God doesn’t hide from us.

You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me! I will let you find me,” says the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:13-14a (NCV)

When we have doubts, God wants us to come looking for Him. He wants to show Himself to us. He lets us find Him.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Kings 12-13; Luke 24:36-53