A couple of weeks ago, feeling totally exhausted, completely drained, burnt out and at the end of my rope, I called out to God (not out loud, just in my head) for a touch from His hand. There is power in His touch and I thought if He would just reach down and touch me, I would have the strength to go on. A tap on the shoulder, a pat on the back, a kick in the pants...any of those would do. If He would reach out and place His healing hands on me, I'd be okay. Almost instantly, after my quiet shout out to the Lord, I remembered a woman who was the epitome of someone totally exhausted, completely drained, burnt out and at the end or her rope. A woman I read about in the Gospels and then really got to know and came to appreciate when I read the book 'He Still Moves Stones' by one of my favourite authors, Max Lucado.Max Lucado says this about the woman: "We don't know her name but we know her situation. Her world was midnight black. Grope-in-the-dark-and-hope-for-help-black."
This is her story from Mark 5:24-34:A large crowd followed Jesus and pressed very close around him. Among them was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 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.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had touched him. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, be encouraged, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”Max continues to elaborate this woman's situation:
A chronic menstrual disorder. A perpetual issue of blood. Such a condition would be difficult for any woman of any era. But for a Jewess, nothing could be worse. No part of her life was left unaffected.Sexually...she could not touch her husband. Maternally...she could not bear children. Domestically...anything she touched was considered unclean. No washing dishes. No sweeping floors. Spiritually...she was not allowed to enter the temple.
She was physically exhausted and socially ostracized.She was a bruised reed. She awoke daily in a body that no one wanted. She is down to her last prayer. And on the day we encounter her, she's about to pray it. Risky decision. To touch him, she will have to touch the people. If one of them recognizes her....hello rebuke, goodbye cure. But what choice does she have? She has no money, no clout, no friends, no solutions. All she has is a crazy hunch that Jesus can help and a high hope that he will....
By the time she gets to Jesus, he is surrounded by people. He's on his way to help the daughter of Jairus, the most important man in the community. What are the odds that he will interrupt an urgent mission with a high official to help the likes of her? Very few. But what are the odds that she will survive if she doesn't take a chance? Fewer still. So she takes a chance."If I can just touch his clothes," she thinks, "I will be healed."
Occasionally I crash. Taking care of a man with ALS is a big job. It's sometimes too big. Even though we have excellent help, I burn out. Though mentally, physically and emotionally spent, there is no 'calling in sick' or 'taking a leave of absence'. A couple of weeks ago, not able to even pray out loud, in my head and in my heart I asked for a touch. And then this woman came to my mind and inspired me to reach out and touch Him. "Take hold of His robe," I have been repeating to myself since then..."Take hold of His robe!"Are you exhausted? Burnt out? At the end of your rope...perhaps hanging by a thread? Are you feeling helpless, hopeless, alone, afraid? Are you worried, sick, broke or just simply broken? Take hold of his robe...take hold of His robe!
God’s help is near and always available, but it is given to those who seek it. – Max Lucado
PS – I have had a few weekends away over the last year, thanks to the help of great home care staff and a wonderful team of family members, including Nathan who stays with Mike overnight and who is able to assist Mike with all his needs. Mike says Nathan is an excellent care giver. I have a hard time leaving Mike for a few hours, let alone a couple of days, but I’ve learned that a little time away for me is beneficial for everyone.