I have a very dear friend who is battling aggressive cancer…again. She is one of the dearest and sweetest people I know. Her family loves her and is very involved in her care. Her friends adore her and have demonstrated that love through their time, money, food, prayers and labor on her behalf…everything from cleaning the house to caring for her ailing body. These are the kind of friends who do not give up even when this ugly disease keeps taking more territory.
As I was praying for her one day I saw a picture in my mind (as you now know, this is not unusual for me!). The picture was of her hand holding tightly to the hem of a garment, certainly taken from the story in the Bible of the ailing woman who sought healing from Jesus by grabbing the hem of his robe. The picture was so real in my mind that it didn’t go away even after a few days, so I shared it with my friend.
The point of the picture, I knew, was that all we really had was the ability to hold on. Especially for my friend, this picture seemed to represent a narrowed focus on what she could do. There is no new medication or treatment to consider, no demands that can be made or special soup that will fix everything. Her life situation brings a laser focus on what matters most: her love for Jesus. My friend has a very earnest and deep faith in God. Honestly, she talks to Him as though she can see Him right in the room with her (which just may be true for her.) She has a beautiful relationship with Jesus. And now she spends her days…her minutes…coping with pain and the ravages of this awful disease. She has little to no power over her circumstances. But she has the grip of a giant when it comes to holding onto Jesus. When I shared this snapshot with her she responded immediately. It was exactly what she was feeling and needed. And so everyday when I think of her, love her from afar and pray for her, I hold onto the same hem she clings to. God and God alone has her life in the palm of his hand and can bring comfort and healing.
I am not saying that if she holds tightly enough God will heal her. We can’t control God. I don’t believe that God requires us to earn His goodness by our efforts. I know that He is good and can do anything. I also know that His ways and thoughts are beyond our human understanding. I pray that God heals my dear friend. Yet even if He doesn’t, I will and I know she will, continue to hold on to the One who holds on to us.
I don’t know what you face today that seems insurmountable or utterly overwhelming. Perhaps it is a broken relationship, financial issues, job problems or a health challenge. It may be emotional or psychological challenges that make you feel isolated or bound up. Whatever it is, there is always one thing you can do that truly matters. Hold on to the One who holds on to you.
Check out Lauren Daigle singing “Hold On To Me” on YouTube. The lyrics are amazing.
Matthew 9:20-22 20 Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, 21 for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Romans 8:35, 37-39 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.