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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Thinking, Saying, Doing

Thinking, Saying, Doing

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. (Mark 5:27-29, NIV)

It was a definite no-no. She had no business being out in public. According to the Law, everyone she touched became ritually impure, thereby requiring them to take an inconvenient “time out” for isolation and cleansing before they could return to normal life (Leviticus 15:25-27).

There was a crush of people around Jesus, and she “contaminated” them all as she pressed through the crowd. But Jesus also had been breaking the ritual rules in violating the Sabbath by casting out a demon (Mark 1:21-28), permitting His disciples to pluck grain (2:23-28), and healing (3:1-6).

The lesson is simple: Religious rules are made to be broken when they get in the way of helping people, when they violate the law of love. Jesus broke the legalistic rules. So did this woman. Those rules would have barred her from approaching Jesus.

Clearly she’s concerned about His reaction to being “defiled” since she comes up on Him from behind.

It’s interesting to compare Mark’s and Matthew’s accounts. Matthew reports, “She said to herself, ‘If only I touch …” (Matthew 9:21); while Mark notes, “She thought ….”

What you say is what you think; and what you think is what you say.

This lady could have been thinking a lot of other things. Her focus could have been on the discouragements of the past, all the suffering from her doctors, and her exhausted bank account. She could have been thinking that she might as well stay home and die.

But, when she heard Jesus was passing by, she began thinking, If I can just get to Him, I’ll be well. And, as she thought it, she said it. She was not going to give up. And once she said it, she did it — she got up and went toward Jesus.

She represents all who do not give up on life, even in the most hopeless and negative circumstances. For 12 years, the battle in her body never let up, but she didn’t give in to the disease and become a hopeless and negative person. Her thinking and her self-talk got her up off the couch and out into the street.

She approached Jesus from behind, pushing her way through the people pressed around Him. The moment she touched His cloak, her bleeding stopped.

Not only that, but “she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” The illness had brought more than physical impairment, isolation and declining health. Suffering overarched it all. In that moment of time when she touched Jesus, not only did her body recover but her whole life as well.

When you are sick for an extended season, your suffering is far more than the physical ravaging of your body. It can be spiritual, as in, “Why, God, have You not come through for me?” Or relational, as in, “My family has moved on and left me here.” Or psychological, as in, “I’m no good to anyone anymore.”

This woman had borne sickness and sorrow but had never let it crush her spirit. She did not let her illness corrupt her thought life or make her a whining “poor me.” Her attitude and self-talk paved the way out of her suffering.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, I come to You today with my own suffering. It does me no good to be physically healthy if my thought life and self-talk remain diseased. Through prayer, I touch You today with faith in my heart, knowing that You will help me.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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