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Some days the pain was too much to bear, yet I could find no one who could give me relief. Some told me of this man, this prophet named Jesus, who was healing people. Word was out that he was coming to shore from across the lake. I hurried to meet this man, but I was disappointed when I arrived and saw a large crowd pressing in around him. I knew that must be Jesus.

I tried to get closer, but too many people were in front of me. I strained to see above the crowd to get a glimpse of this man. That’s when I saw Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, standing by Jesus. I was amazed when I saw Jairus fall at the feet of Jesus. I could see the tears in his eyes as he spoke: “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

A woman next to me had a wide-eyed stare. I recognized her as the woman from town who suffered for years from bleeding. I met her a couple times when I visited the doctor. She had spent all she had on doctors, seeking a cure, but her condition only worsened. “Are you okay?” I asked her.

“Jairus said if Jesus just put his hands on his little girl, she would be healed.”

“Yes,” I nodded. “That’s what he said.”

“Maybe if I just touch his robe,” she said as she continued to stare at Jesus.

“Just touch him? But how could that heal you?” I questioned her.

She didn’t respond. She just pressed into the crowd and disappeared from my sight. I looked at Jesus and saw him following Jairus as they walked. “He must be going to Jairus’ house,” I thought. I moved with the crowd as we followed Jesus. I wanted to see if his touch could really heal.

A moment later I saw Jairus and Jesus stop. “Who touched my clothes?” Jesus asked.

One of his disciples said what I thought, “You see the people crowding against you and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

But Jesus persisted and kept looking in the crowd for who had touched him. I pushed my way into the mass of people surrounding Jesus for a closer look. That’s when I spotted the woman, who I saw just moments ago, fall at his feet. She was trembling as she told him what she did.

“Daughter, your faith has healed you,” Jesus said to her. “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

“Had she really been healed by just touching him?” I wondered. “Could I also be healed by just touching him?”

I tried to get closer to Jesus and Jairus, but some people pushed past me and stopped in front of Jairus. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

I could see Jairus’ face sink as tears began to stream down his face. That’s when I heard Jesus say to him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

I wanted to follow them to Jairus’ house, but he only let a few of his disciples go with him. I watched as they disappeared from sight. I was amazed as I stared at the woman who had suffered for years. The pain she always wore on her face was gone, replaced by joy. Could he bring Jairus’ daughter back to life?” I thought. His words echoed in my mind, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of someone who encountered the woman healed from years of bleeding as told in Mark 5:21-36 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

Sorrow fills me

Tears well up inside

Flowing down my cheeks

Pooling on the floor

Jesus wept

Death returns once more

Grief fills my soul

So much living remained

Cut short by the grave

Jesus wept

Deep hurt inflicted

The memories return

Sadness overtakes me

The pain, too much to bear

Jesus wept

Memories haunt me

Violent outbursts

Directed at me

Muscles tense, I recoil

Jesus wept

Hope has vanished

Stricken from this place

Emotions overwhelm me

All seems so pointless

Jesus wept

I see him weeping

I see his love for him

I see his love for me

He knows my pain

Jesus wept

He weeps with me

Tears pool on the floor

But his are tinged with red

Love for me so deep

Jesus wept

There is life after pain

There is life after hurt

There is hope in sorrow

There is life after death

Jesus rose

His love abounds

He wipes away my tears

His grace is sufficient

His hope eternal

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” – John 11:35-36 (NIV)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26

© 2019 CGThelen

This morning broken hearts are on my mind dear God. Hearts shattered by those close to us. Hurt that seems like it will never go away. Pain that continually penetrates like a thorn in our side. Piercing pain that drains the life from us. Heal us Lord as only you can do. Fill us with hope only you can give. Bind up our wounds to bring healing as only you, the great physician can do. Absorb the tears from our eyes with your soothing tissue of love and grace. Nurture us back to life, new life in you dear Lord.

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. – Psalm 6:2-4

Suffering is a part of life in this world. It is difficult to understand the reason we experience pain and grief. Like Job, we wrestle with why we experience anguish — trauma that causes us to cry out as Job did: “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the sea… (Job 6:2-3, NIV).”

Pain in our life, deep misery, can cause us to cry out for help. As Job wrestled with God’s purpose for his agony, it caused him to open up to God and others about his pain. He expressed his true feelings: “Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul (Job 7:11).” This is the essence of true community with God and other Christians; open and honest conversation about our struggles and emotions that builds a deep connection with God and each other.

When we share our suffering, we open the door to sharing a journey that can deepen our faith in God. We move beyond surface conversations like Job’s friends who claim they have answers for his suffering: “Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty (Job 15:5).”

To walk with a friend through the anguish is to experience it with them; to cry with them; to grieve with them. Sharing our deepest feelings, our deepest pain, welcomes others to deepen their faith with us as we replace trying to understand the purpose for pain with a deeper faith, a deeper trust in God. We can exclaim as Job did, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2).”

© 2019 CGThelen

I dig deep in my soul. I think your ways are my ways; your desires my desires. And yet I can feel distant from you God, not understanding why some things need to be the way they are — why the pain and suffering. It seems so unnecessary. I only desire for them to be free from being enslaved to the lies, to the deceit; free from the sin that only brings misery. I only want them to bask in the joy of your light dear Jesus. Isn’t this also your desire dear God? So much pain, at times it seems unbearable. My heart aches, my soul weeps. I cry out to you God in prayer for change. Help me to grab hold of your wisdom and truth, even in the midst of my doubt. Help me to trust in you.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. – Psalm 46:1-3

© 2019 CGThelen

grapes-002
I have always admired the way Joseph kept his focus on God even though his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. Throughout Genesis 39-45, from the point Joseph is sold by his brothers to when he is reconciled with his brothers, Joseph continually lets his devotion to God guide his decisions. Yet there is one passage of scripture in all these chapters on Joseph that is easy to miss yet very thought-provoking.

In Genesis 41, after Pharaoh has placed Joseph as second in command of all of Egypt, he has two sons. When the second son is born Joseph remarks in verse 52, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering (NIV).” Even though he has become a powerful ruler of Egypt, he still calls it “the land of my suffering.” He is beginning to see how God has used his suffering to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Joseph’s statement in verse 52 causes me to ask if I can see God’s fruit in the land of my suffering. Too often I am focused on the agony and not on what purpose God might have for my pain. In the midst of our enslavement and imprisonment in the land of our suffering, be mindful of the fruit God is ripening for his glory.

#ThrowbackThursday — This post originally published Jan. 29, 2017.

© 2017 CGThelen

May you this day dear Lord, call out to those who are faithful to you. May they hear your voice to respond to the hurting. May they have eyes to see the pain in others. May they have ears to hear the cries of pain. Give them discernment to bring compassion to those ready for your healing. Equip them with the words, the actions to bring eternal healing to those crying out for relief. May the balm of your gospel message soothe the tired soul. May it bring strength and calm in the midst of the storm.

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people. – Jeremiah 8:22 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

The pain of past hurts is still there.The hurt of rejection. The laughter and judging eyes. The isolation, feeling rejected. But you rise up in this moment dear God to remind me you were there; to remind me you are here now. You long to show me your graciousness, your love. Even when I could not see you, you saw me and held me. You have carried me all these years, to this moment when I can look back and see how you protected me; how you cared for me, soothing my broken heart. All the time you inched me along, pointing me to something better, deepening my faith in you, strengthening my hope in you.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God. – Isaiah 50:10

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18

© 2019 CGThelen

The sun rises in the east. I feel the first rays of light warm my face, touching me with a golden glow. Your presence dear God awakens my soul. In this moment, I feel your Spirit envelope me. Joy fills me as I consider the love and grace you have lavished on me. The memories of the past, the pain from long ago, is covered with the knowledge that you were there. Despite what others did, you brought me to this point. Despite the tears from ancient streams of sorrow, you are here before me. Your loving arms embrace me. Praise God that you never abandoned me even when I felt like you did. Praise God that you are my shield, that you have given me these years of life. Praise God that you don’t consider me broken and useless, but you raise me up as a servant worthy of your call. All praise to you dear God for your grace, for sending your son Jesus to save us from our sins. Praise God that we can be your children, heirs to your kingdom. All praise to you dear God.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philemon 4:4-7 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

In the deepest, darkest pit

You were there

When all abandoned me

You knew my grief

When I was struck

You felt the pain

When fear paralyzed me

You were beside me

When others heckled me

Your words soothed me

When rejected, cast aside

You pulled me near

When tears engulfed me

You wiped them away

When I felt no love from others

Your love remained true

You never abandoned me

Always by my side

Dear God you’re always there

Always faithful to me

You’ve blessed me

When when I felt no blessing

Filled me up

When I felt depleted

You are the one true God

The everlasting father

Your love and grace endures

Through all that life gives

Your are the eternal

In a temporal world

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” — Psalm 146:13-14 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

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