Steve's reflections on life

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Hidden Shame
I get asked many questions about Jesus doing what I do. This is probably the most frequent, “If God loves us why doesn’t he help us?” It’s a very fair question and a little more honest than the ones about monkeys, fossils and dinosaurs. It’s a heartcry for an answer to the pain of the hurting and the confused. There’s an amazing story in the Bible that reveals something of the heart of God towards us.

A woman pushed through the crowd to get to Jesus and attempted to touch him. This anonymous individual was living with a socially challenging medical condition. She had been suffering for 12 years, shunned by the community as unclean and shamed into believing anyone who touched her would also be unclean.

She’s flat broke having visited all the doctors in all the clinics, she hasn’t got BUPA and she doesn’t qualify for free NHS prescriptions. So she’s out on the street pushing through the crowd and grabbing hold of Jesus and here’s where her journey of shame finally ends. Not in the treatment room with another quack but on the street with Jesus.

When the woman grabbed hold of his clothes, Jesus asked his team who touched him. The Bible describes a scene of utter chaos with people pressing around Jesus, almost crushing him. No wonder the disciples are staggered by his question. “Who touched you?” they asked “Everyone’s touching you, we can’t stop them touching you!”

Into that moment the compassion of Jesus is massive and his explosive miraculous power suddenly detonates. He reached out to the woman and told her that her faith had made her well. Clearly she needed Jesus’ power but she also needed faith in him too. That’s what makes it connect for all of us. The presence of Jesus and our willingness to respond to him in faith. Jesus never came to explain away human suffering, he came to fill it with his presence.

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