Faith That Won’t Give Up
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”” Luke 8:42-45 NIV
I first got to know Tabitha‘s troubling situation with the custody of her 10 year old daughter Nevaeh when we began our ministry two years ago. Her husband left her for another woman, but he’s fought to gain custody selfishly for the child welfare money. Tabitha has a lawyer but things have dragged on without resolution. Her husband recently took Nevaeh and moved across the city. He’s prevented Tabitha from seeing her. As a result, Nevaeh has been struggling emotionally, psychologically, and academically to the point that her school recommended she be placed in a care facility. This is heartbreaking for Tabitha.
In addition to this distressing situation for a mother to endure, she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and begun treatments. She has dealt with all this without friends or family to support her.
Like Tabitha, many who struggle with painful circumstances live in isolation. Jesus came across many who had been discriminated against and isolated from society because of diseases or disabilities. The woman who had the bleeding issue would have been cut off from her family and friends. But not from Jesus.
She turned to Jesus when all others couldn’t help her. In spite of the fact it was a social taboo, she had the boldness to touch the hem of our Lord’s robe in the hopes of receiving her healing. Instead of rejecting her, Jesus turns and seeks her out to commend her courageous faith, shocking everyone, including his disciples. In our Lord’s eyes, she was no outcast. She was a child of God in need.
Debby and I have sought to support Tabitha and keep her and Nevaeh in our prayers. Recently at CCDC she was thinking of stopping her treatments and giving up. We have spent time encouraging her and telling her not to give up. Nevaeh needs her. On Thursday, after talking with her at our Wednesday evening Dinner Church, I spoke with her while I was serving at the food pantry. She told me, “Jim, I’m not going to give up.” I was so glad to hear her say this.
Jesus’ incredible love for the outcast and lonely shows us to reach out and support those who have no one to lean on. Our faith compels us to be there for those in need and never overlook any who are on the sidelines of society. The woman with the bleeding issue shows that Jesus meets any of us wherever we are and reminds us that we are the beloved children of God no matter who we are.
Help us to be there with the love of God to those in our city who need a supportive listening ear and caring heart. Please remember our ministry in your prayers and in your giving.
May God’s peace be with you,
Pastor Jim and Debby Riley