Summary: What to do when things seem hopeless
“Help for the Hopeless”
Luke 8:40-48 1/30/05; 10/26/14
Have you ever felt hopeless? Have you ever felt completely helpless in an impossible situation? If you have - maybe you can understand what this woman in our Scripture was feeling. She had an incurable disease. For twelve long years, as many years as the little dead girl had lived, she had been going from doctor to doctor to find a cure. While Jairius’ daughter was growing up, laughing and playing, and delighting her father, this woman was desperately going from doctor to doctor. But the sad result was that no one could heal her.
Can you almost feel her pain? Every day, for 12 long years she lived with this thing. Every day for 12 years she had to change the bloody bandages. Every day she had to live with the sights and smells and weakness of her problem. Every day she mustered up a little hope to go on. Every day she prayed - and nothing happened. Every day she was on the lookout for someone new that offered her a little hope - and every day she was disappointed.
I can imagine her on her way home from another disappointing check-up, head down, fighting tears, lip trembling - and then she is swallowed up in a sea of people. She asks someone “what’s going on?”
And they tell her “Jesus, the great Healer is passing through town!”
Her head lifts up, she picks Jesus out of the crowd, and something about Him inspires hope in her heart. Was it His kind face and gentle eyes? Was it the aurora of authority about Him? Was it the way everyone respected Him and talked about Him? We don’t know. But we do know this woman found the faith to push her way through the crowd to Jesus.
Have you ever tried to push your way through the crowd to get to someone? I have, and it isn’t easy. You have to be determined to do it. This woman was. She made her way through the mob, only to find Jesus surround by a bunch of big, husky fisherman. She couldn’t bull her way past them. But her faith kicked in and she said to herself, “If I can just touch Him; if I can just touch his clothes - I will be healed.” And she was!
I’ve thought a lot about this incident. It is such a wonderful story of faith and hope and healing and Jesus’ power. It has a lesson for all of us. We may not have an incurable disease like this woman, but we have experienced her desperation; her hopelessness; her need for a miraculous touch. We have all experienced a time we have been desperate for a loving, gentle touch from Jesus.
I have found that our greatest blessings often come after our greatest desperation. The greatest healing often comes only after our greatest hurt. Our greatest delivery comes only after we realize how great is our bondage. Our greatest joy often comes after our greatest sorrow.
That knowledge ought to influence how we look at our problems and trials and pain. It is in the midst of our darkest night that we need to believe that “joy comes in the morning. It is when we are facing our biggest problem that we need to get ready for our biggest solution. When we are at our weakest –our greatest strength is just around the corner.
The spiritual truth is that our greatest blessings come after our greatest desperation. Before this woman’s blessing; before she realized her heart’s desire- was, first of all, the endurance of pain. I don’t know how much pain she was suffering. I can only imagine at how much pain Jairius was suffering. I know I would be tremendously hurt if anything happened to one of my kids or grandkids. We usually just don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. We take things for granted. I know I did. I took my health for granted - until one day I experienced the tremendous pain of having my chest cut open and my heart worked on. The pain was so great that I just wanted to die - but they wouldn’t let me!
As I lay on that hospital bed, all alone, in incredible pain - I felt like hell couldn’t be much worse. Of course it could and is - but I felt pretty bad. But from that endurance of pain, came an appreciation for my health that I never had before. Every day I thank God for my health. It’s wonderful to be strong and healthy and to feel good. Every day is a blessing, but I didn’t appreciate it until I had to endure pain.
This woman also had to 2) endure the shame of her disease. It wasn’t as bad as the lepers of Jesus’ day. They were ostracized and shunned. They were humiliated. When people approached them they had to yell, “unclean! unclean!” When they got too close, people would throw rocks at them to drive them away. They daily lived with and endured shame.