Would you crawl on your hands and knees through mud and manure? What if it meant being stepped on and kicked along the way? What if you barely had any life in your bones?
Sunday's sermon got me thinking a little. The title was "resolve" playing off the new year's resolutions theme, but the word that left an impression was "effort". This only made a slight impression on my brain, but the next day I caught a short clip about the woman who reached out and touched Christ's garment and how she likely was crawling to do so. All of a sudden the thought of putting forth an effort to grow in my faith took on a whole new meaning.
How do you imagine the woman who had faith that she would be healed if she only touched the hem of Christ's robe? Do you imagine her simply pushing her way through a crowd? That's how I thought of her until recently. But the probable reality is that being weakened from a life-long ailment, she crawled to Christ. The reality is that Christ was surrounded by a pressing mob who would have had the woman underfoot. The reality is that the streets were strewn with manure from cattle and horses and sewage being emptied onto the streets from homes. The reality is that this was no simple squeezing her way through people to extend her hand; this was desperation, pain, and strain to reach the hem. Now, THAT'S FAITH!
Too often the effort in growing in our faith is made to seem clinical. It's a three step process of reading our Bible, praying, and surrounding ourselves with other Christians. To be frankly honest-none of those compare to the effort the woman showed. Oh sure, those are all good things but how much does it really make you grow in your faith? I think that growth happens in the ugliness of life....the tough times......the times we're in the mud and getting kicked. The times that the crowd, maybe even the Christian crowd (for they too wanted to be around Christ), is preventing us from reaching Christ.
The stranger fact is that this woman PUT HERSELF THROUGH IT! It's not as though she was plunged into the mire-she chose to crawl through it. And THAT is what made me stop and think about my own life. It's not as though I haven't had a few tough times here and there which have resulted in personal growth-but I never chose those times, they were thrust upon me. I wrote a few posts back that I felt that God and I were in a bit of a stale-mate, that one of us were in check. The fact of the matter is that right now, I'm not willing to crawl through the muck. I want to touch the hem, but can't find the steam to do so. If it were only as simple as squeezing my way through the crowd, I might put forth the effort......but seriously God, you want me to do more than that? More than read my Bible and pray?
I guess it's time to get dirty....just when I thought I was done with that.