Reaching Out for the Holiness of Christ
Have you ever had that moment where you felt there was no hope? There have been moments in my life which doors have slammed shut. I have had people say and do unimaginable things that just rocked my world. I have had people that I had thought were my support and had my back turn away. Like Jeremiah to the people of Israel in Lamentations (3:22-33) who, in spite of the adverse circumstances is proclaiming hope to the suffering people of Israel. The hope that comes from our Lord and him alone. We are often called to turn back to the Lord, to trust in him and in. When Paul is speaking to the people of Corinth (2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15), we find a message that points to the generous spirit of the Macedonians. Their generosity was not because of their circumstances but in spite of it. So often we define ourselves by the things of this world instead of in God and his love for us. Finally, in the Gospel lesson reading of late (Mark 5:21-43), we find the story of two seeking favor from God. The first is a father, Jairus, who through the leaders of the synagogue, approaches Christ with concern for his daughter. She's very sick and is fearful that she will not survive. In desperation, he reaches out to this man who has been seen as holy for many. In the midst of this, we have a woman who had been hemorrhaging for years with no help and no hope. Her faith drives her to Jesus, who she knows in her spirit is most holy, believing to the depths of her soul will heal her. Her actions delay Jesus' journey to the daughter of the official because he feels her touch and desires to know who it was that was healed to offer a message of further hope and healing. After providing her words of comfort, he continues and finds those that have lost faith because they feel that the opportunity for healing the girl has passed as she is now dead. In both scenarios, we see a sense of disbelief in what God can do and, to some extent, an opposition to any further action.

Trusting and believing in God is not always an easy journey. In fact, sometimes it is downright impossible for those that desire to fit in with the ways of the world. Often people rely more on the things of this world instead of seeking guidance from God. Now don't get me wrong, I am not advocating for going out and not taking medicine or seeking medical care when needed believing that the Lord will heal you, often times that is the means which the Lord heals since he has given us doctors and medical professionals. What I do believe, though, is that just because a doctor holds an opinion does not mean that other things are not possible. God works in the impossible. For the hemorrhagic woman and Jairus' daughter, there was no hope in the things of this world. They both required miraculous action. They did not need anything more than a little faith. A little belief in the possibility that God could do something. God desires us to turn to him first, though, we find how gracious and merciful he is even when we don't. He is a jealous God, in the sense that he desires for our undivided devotion but not in a way in which he ignores us after we fail and fall short. When we turn to him, we find that his arms are open to us.

Unlike God, I am not always perfect. Shocking, right? {sarcasm} I don't always appreciate the love of my children as I should. Sometimes my mind is elsewhere, and the things of this world distract my attention away from what is highly significant, my kids. God isn't like that with us. He isn't distracted but is always attentive and ready for us when we turn to him. He is never too busy to hear our prayers and, unlike me, isn't bothered by the little things. I think parents can relate to that with their own kids when they come up with something that they believe to be really, really important like a drawing and we are caught up with something else, and we don't often appreciate the thing that is important to them. That picture or lego creation for us is usually not significant (and honestly the business we may be attending to may be more critical in the worldly sense). For God, there is nothing more important than us, and our prayers are precious to him. Not that the faith we hold is centered on us, but the graciousness of God is because of who he is and is why he is worthy of our praise.

Psalm 8 highlights the humility which we should have when it comes to God in asking ourselves, "Who are we that God would have us on his mind?" So often, it seems otherwise as people act as though God owes them something. God desires for us to come to him and trust him and just because we pray, he is not required to answer our prayers as we see fit. Our wants do not equal his wishes or desires. As we understand our needs does not equal what he sees as our needs. He is all-knowing, we are not. He is all-powerful, we are not. He is everywhere at all times, we are not. He is eternal and uncreated, we are not. Ultimately, our disappointments with God are not because he has done something wrong, but because our hearts were not in line with his heart. In my youth, I cried against God when things did not go as I wanted them to go and for a time it drove me away from God, but, as I have grown, I have found that I have changed. There have been times where people have done cruel things that were shocking to my spirit, but God has always provided for me in spite of the outward appearance of things. The suffering in this world is momentary, but in God, we find hope that carries us through. Reaching toward that which is holy is something that comes not through work or action. Christ is never far from us. It is not a striving or a work that we must do. It comes in merely believing and that belief comes through submission. Submitting to the urgings of the Holy Spirit. By not resisting God and trying to do things on our own terms, but let God do his holy work within us. That is where the peace begins.