I want to go hiking. I want to go to this place that has a trail that leads to a waterfall. The waterfall feeds into a stream, and people sit on the rocks and swim in the stream. I want to go hiking there. But it's too hot. The heat index is well over 100 and people are being advised to stay inside. And then, as if the meteorologist's warning wasn't enough, my mom says, "It's die-of-heatstroke kind of weather, Emily. You can't go. Your body can't handle that." Well, I guess that's settled then.
Maybe you know what it's like to have your body fighting against you. Maybe you know what it's like to have your body put you in check. To be constantly reminded of the things you can't do because your body simply doesn't work they way it should.
Maybe you know what it's like to watch someone whose body is fighting against them. Maybe you know what it's like to see them struggle to be, and struggle to maintain. To see them watch others do what they can never do, and to wish that you could fix it for them, knowing you won't ever be able to.
Maybe you know what is like to watch from the sidelines. Maybe you know what it's like to be a part of the cheering crowd, but never be on the field. To want to be or do something that your limitations won't let you.
Maybe you know what it's like to be a caretaker. Maybe you know what it's like to constantly worry about the health and well being of someone you love. To hope that they care for their self in the exact way they are supposed to.
In The Gospel of Mark Chapter 5 we see a man name Jarius come to find Jesus because his daughter is sick. He begs Jesus to come and lay his hands on her. He knew that one word or touch from Jesus was all she would need to be well. As Jesus pushes through the crowds to follow Jarius, he stops. In the midst of the crowd he felt someone touch him. He felt the power inside of him go out. When he asks who touched him, he finds it was a woman who had been sick for many, many years. She simply grabbed at his robe as she crawled through the crowd. She knew that all she needed was to touch the hem of his garments and she would be healed.
Can you imagine being Jarius? His daughter is dying and Jesus is stopping in the middle of crowd to ask who touched him. Jesus! Come on! You're wasting precious time she doesn't have! My daughter needs you!
Can you imagine being that woman? Years and years of pain and suffering, and likely alone and isolated from her community. Just a little closer! If I just reach a little further! Slow down Jesus, I just need to grab your hem!
As the woman touched Jesus, she was immediately healed. Jesus tells her that her faith brought her healing. And just as the woman's years of suffering ends, Jarius gets words that his daughter has died. In the same moment of victory and joy for the woman, Jarius experiences incredible heart break and defeat. Jesus' next words to Jarius are so important. Hearing the devastating news Jarius just received, and likely hearing the murmurs of the crowds, Jesus says, "Don't be afraid. Just believe."
So if you know what is like to have your body fight against you, "Don't be afraid. Just believe." Believe that God has created you and your body perfectly and for a purpose. Don't be afraid to embrace your challenges and your differences Believe that even in the midst of your struggle God is with you and beside you, carrying you through. Don't be afraid to seek contentment and peace and even seek healing. Believe that your journey and your story is a testimony of God's love and faithfulness to you. Don't be afraid to share your good days and your bad days, and find camaraderie along the way.
And if you know what it's like to watch someone whose body is fighting against them, "Don't be afraid. Just believe." Believe that God has a plan for them that is bigger and greater than you or they even know. Don't be afraid to encourage them to take care and to take part. Believe that God has created and called them to be the best version of themselves, despite their suffering and struggles. Don't be afraid to talk to them about your fears and your worries for them. Believe that God can bring healing in many, many forms and that your prayers for them are vitally important. Don't be afraid to seek solace from others who are caregivers like yourself.
The woman who touched Jesus' garments was healed that day. Jarius' daughter was brought back to life that day. That crowd witnessed a miracle that day. And the woman and Jarius received one too. God the father created each and every body. With purpose. With passion. With great, great love. With His miraculous power.
All we have to do is seek and ask. All it takes is just one touch. All it takes is a moment without fear and a moment of belief. All it takes is His presence. For new perspective. For renewal of hope. For encouragement. For healing. Perhaps not the way you want it, or when you want it, or how you wanted it to happen. But maybe, that's the miracle itself. Maybe the miracle is simply being fearless and full of faith and belief. Maybe the miracle is stepping out and pushing through the crowd. Maybe the miracle is that life we get back when we see Him at work in our lives. Maybe the miracle is the purpose and the plan He has for each of us, in the body He made us, the body He gave us. Maybe the miracle is in the process and in the lessons learned and in the situations we can't control and the ones He allows us to be in.
And maybe I'll go get some ice cream instead and sit in the air conditioning until the heat calms itself down. Yup. That's settled then.