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“The Greatest Story Ever Told” 2007 Women’s Retreat: Munich International Church

When my parents took me to see the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, for the first time, despite the radiant colors bursting through windows and gargoyles spewing, what made the greatest impression on me was a collection of enormous tapestries that told the David and Goliath story. As I stood gazing at the shepherd boy holding up the huge, bleeding head with one hand, I studied the embroidery work and imagined the months, perhaps years, required to make such a creation. The scenes before me would have amounted to nothing meaningful until every thread was finally in place and the textiles hung in sequence.

Our lives on earth are a little bit like that. We inhabit half-finished stories in the middle of a narrative. Until God completes the tale, we have only threads and knots on the back side and a jumbled mess of seemingly disconnected details. We lack the full picture.

Still, knowing God’s character and looking at the events we’ve endured, we can see enough to trust that some day it will all make sense. My own story along with those of several biblical women and two psalms of lament, gives me enough of a glimpse at God’s overall story that I can trust, even while I live in the world of the fragments, scraps, and knots. And you can, too….

Audio From The Retreat

My Story
Each of us is a story of God’s faithfulness. My story of jumbled threads is about “The Seven Times I Told God ‘I’ll Never…’ and How I Had to Eat My Words.”

Rachel and Leah’s Story
Two sisters competing to have the most kids demonstrate that even the black cord of sin cannot thwart God’s purposes (Gen. 29:30–30:24).

Esther’s Story
The immortal, invisible protagonist takes a fearful foreigner trying to hide her Jewish identity and transforms her into a courageous queen (Book of Esther).

Praying the Lament Psalms/The Story of the Woman with the Issue of Blood
The psalms of lament (the red threads of suffering) help us talk to God while we live in the “not yet”; and the gold thread of faith, as seen in “the woman with the issue of blood,” serves as a shining contrast against the darkness (Mark 5:25–34).
“Your life in Christ can be the greatest story ever told.”

Message Texts

Friday Night: My Story

“The Seven Times I’ve Told God ‘I’ll Never…’ and How I’ve Had to Eat My Words”

A human life is one of God’s way of telling a story—the story of His faithfulness.
James 4:13–14 – Don’t say “This or that will happen.”

My problem is doing this and its opposite: “This will happen” and “I’ll never.”

The seven times I have told God “I never…” and how I’ve had to eat my words.

I could never live in a big city. ( Washington D.C. )
I will never speak in public.
I would never marry someone like Gary Glahn.
We would never stay in Texas after Gary ’s graduation
I will never take my temperature daily like all those women who obsess over having a baby
I’d never go to seminary.
How I learned to pray the psalms
Psalm 22: Why have you forsaken me?
It’s okay to tell God we feel abandoned.
He gives us a guide for complaining.
Jesus prayed with loud crying and tears (Heb. 5:7).
We have a high priest who can sympathize.
Jesus was abandoned so that we’d never have to be.
A visit to the vet: Cat theology

Isa 55:9

Psa 103:1

Psalm 23

Boils down to two questions: Is God good? Will I trust Him?

I would never write a book.
Prov 16:9

My new list:

• I will never be a lion.

• I will never again attain my high-school weight.

• I will never have a million-dollar mansion on Maui .

Romans 8:32

Saturday Morning: Rachel And Leah's Story

The story of How the Twelve Tribes of Israel Came to Be (Gen 30)

Despite human frailty, God’s purposes were not thwarted, but humans suffered a lot more than they had to in the process.

Our sin makes it harder for ourselves and others along the way, but even our sin does not thwart God’s purposes.

The first thing we learn from this story is that God sometimes has to even the score because of our sinful practices and attitudes (Gen. 29:31- 35).

If you remember the story behind all this, you know that Jacob loved Rachel, but he got stuck with Leah, who was apparently no beauty queen. No doubt it was devastating—for both of them.

But a week later, Jacob gets the woman he really loves while Leah is left to suffer for the rest of her life. So you’ve got a couple of co-wives. Jacob loves Rachel, and everyone knows it. Leah got the black bean.

Well, God is just. And sometimes in His justice he intervenes to equalize the suffering. In this case, the text says, “When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.” One got the love of a man; the other got the love of children.

So we see in verse 33, “Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben; for she said, “Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.” The name Reuben sounds a lot like the Hebrew expression “He has seen misery.” The women in this day and age often gave their children names with wordplays involved.

Verse 34 says she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also”; and she named him Simeon. The Hebrew sounds more like “Shimeon.”

Have you heard of the “Shema”? You know, “Hear, O Israel …” Well, Shema is to hear. Simeon’s name means He heard. Notice that both of these two names say something about Leah’s faith. Her husband didn’t love her or hear her, but she knew God did.

The third time, it says in verse 34, “Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons”; therefore he was named Levi.” That name was a play on the words about being joined to her husband. She still has hope here after three kids.

But after this it looks like her focus matures a bit. In verse 35 it says, “She conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the LORD’; therefore she named him Judah; then she ceased bearing.”

So the score is Leah – 4; Rachel – 0.

Now we’ve seen God intervene. The wife with the upper hand has been brought down to more even footing. But we need to stop and ask ourselves, “Is there anything I’m doing that would prompt God to have to intervene?” Is there some injury I might be causing that would necessitate His taking something away to even out an imbalance?

Unfortunately, Rachel took the pain she felt over her childlessness and she turned it into an opportunity to compete. Which brings us to the second thing we learn from this story—that we should expect to suffer the consequences of our wrong actions.

Actually Rachel does four things to make the situation worse. She begins with envying her sister. In chapter 30 verse one we read, “When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister.” And then to make things worse, she accuses her husband. She told him, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob pointed out that she had a faith problem, and her words made him really angry. In verse two we read his response: “Jacob became very angry with Rachel and said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”

Rachel has an opportunity here to trust God. But instead she offers Jacob a semi-surrogate. Read verses three through five: “Then she said, ‘Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, that she may bear upon my knees and that I too may have children through her.’ So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife; and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.” And then it gets really ugly. Notice that Rachel sort of engraves the competition in stone by means of her kids’ names. The first time her maid gives birth they name the child Dan, which suggests God has acted as judge and Rachel has won. But it gets worse. In verse eight we read that the next child, Naphtali, is so named because, “I have wrestled with my sister and prevailed.” This is sibling rivalry at its worst.

And now can’t you just hear Leah say, “Well! If you’re gonna be that way about it…” So Leah gives her servant to Jacob, who now has a total of four wives. And that servant has 2 kids. We read in verse eleven that she named them “Gad” for “good fortune,” and “Asher,” for “happy.”

Now the score is Rachel – 2 sorta; and Leah 4+2 = 6. It’s the new math, I guess.

It has gone from ugly to uglier. Rachel is determined to have her way, but God won’t let her. And what Rachel does next really shows God’s poetic justice. The little vignette begins in verse 14:

“In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

You have to figure that Reuben is about ten years old by now, and when he’s out in the field he finds mandrakes. Mandrakes are plants with long roots and a white flower—nothing really special until you know that in that culture mandrakes were considered a fertility enhancer. Today people tell infertile couples, “Just relax,” back then they said, “Go get some mandrakes.”

Well, when Rachel finds out Leah has some, she asks Leah to share so she can get pregnant. And now we get a picture of Leah’s bitterness. She’s been married for a decade or more, and she tells Rachel, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” But then who can blame her? Rachel’s been competing like crazy. So we’ve had a decade of utter misery. Two people who could have loved and empathized with each other have made each other’s lives miserable by a sibling rivalry based on one-upping.

Well, what Rachel does next is pretty low. She allows superstition to motivate her to use sex as a bargaining chip. In this case she tells Leah, “I’ll let you sleep with him tonight in exchange for the mandrakes.” She basically sells a night with her husband.

Now talk about a dysfunctional marriage. Look at what verse 16 says: When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night.”

And God heeded Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son.

Leah said, “God has given me my hire because I gave my maid to my husband”; so she named him Issachar.” Which is a play on the word “hire.” Notice it’s not because she hired her husband with mandrakes, but because she gave her maid to him. She could’ve been really cruel here, but she doesn’t go there.

But do you see what God did? When Rachel was engaging in the latest superstition instead of having a faith perspective on the whole thing, he made sure she understood that the very thing she had wrongly trusted in became the means to add to her own misery. The mandrakes didn’t help her get pregnant—they gave her sister the opportunity to be with Jacob again.

Then Leah goes on to have two more children. Verse 20 introduces Zebulun—”now my husband will honor me.” And Dinah, a daughter. We aren’t told the meaning of her name—not because girls are less important, but because it would be a bunny trail off of the author’s point here in telling us how the 12 tribes of Israel came into existence. And we’re almost there. The score is Rachel – 2 sorta; and Leah – 9 sorta. Though one of those is a girl.

Do you see all the misery that didn’t have to happen? Do you see how Rachel’s lack of faith led to even greater suffering for herself? Sometimes we suffer the consequences of our own actions. So ask yourself, “What actions have I committed or am I committing for which I would not want God to have to intervene to ‘even the score’ or bring consequences?” Are you slandering someone? Do you want to be slandered? Are you complaining about how someone handles something? Do you want others complaining about how you handle something? We need to do unto others… And in the meantime, I suggest begging for the mercy of, “Lord, please don’t bring back to me what my actions deserve.”

God made it good and clear to Rachel that children don’t come from using mandrakes. They come from His hand. She’s learning some hard lessons here. And if we read on, we learn another thing from the mistakes she makes: We see that our “idols” will be the very things that destroy us (Gen. 30:22-24). Let’s take a look at how that plays out in Rachel’s life. Look at verses 22 and 23: Then God remembered Rachel, and God heeded her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.”

Finally! Rachel has the good news she has waited and manipulated and prayed for. So we expect her to name her child, “God is good,” or something like that. But look at verse 24. It says, “And she named him Joseph, saying, “May the LORD add to me another son!” God finally gives her what she wants and she gives him a name that means to “add.” She wants more. And you want to know the sad part? Rachel later goes on to have another child, Benjamin, but she dies in childbirth. The very thing that consumed her life took her life. The thing that became more important to her than God destroyed her.

What do you want more than God? We call stuff addictions and issues; Paul calls it sin. What drives you? What are your longings? A love relationship? Achievement? Status? Wealth? Food? Good grades? What you make your god will be the thing that consumes you. Is God Himself what ultimately consumes you? If anything besides God is our passion, it has the potential to destroy us.
If anything besides God is our passion, it has the potential to destroy us.

The competition between Rachel and Leah to have kids, more kids, the most kids, through whatever means necessary brought a lot of preventable misery. But the good news is that in the process God’s ultimate purpose was not thwarted. The last thing we learn from this story is that even our sin can’t thwart God’s plans.

We sometimes like a good love story, so we tend to root for Rachel here. And we may even think of her son, Joseph, as the son of promise, but Judah is the line through which David and Jesus come, and Judah was a son of Leah. And regardless of the sinful attitudes and actions involved, Rachel and Leah built the house of Israel (Ruth 4:11). In the story of Ruth, the villagers pronounce a blessing on Ruth when she marries Boaz. And they say, “May you be like Rachel and Leah who build the house of Israel.” The women are remembered not so much for their bickering but for the fact that God used them. And even though the humans involved were sometimes awful to each other, God accomplished His ultimate will.

So think about your failures and shortcomings and offer them to God as a sacrifice. Where sin abounded, grace abounded more. They’re part of the “all things” that God can work together for good.

So we can learn four things here from the mistakes of Rachel and Leah:

We should expect God to even the score when we engage in sinful practices and attitudes;
We should expect to suffer the consequences of our actions;
Our “idols” will be the very things that destroy us
Even our sin can’t thwart God’s purposes.

Saturday Night: Esther's Story

Hadassah (Myrtle): The Reluctant Heroine
The Setting
• Where? Capital of the Persian Empire
•When? Beginning of King Ahasuerus’ reign. Most likely Xerxes I. About 486–465 BC (about 100 years pre-Aristotle) When were its events written down? Experts say between 450 and 300 BC
• Hadassah’s story answers the question, “How did the Jewish celebration of Purim come about?” “Pur” is Akkadian for “lot”—as in casting a lot—and “im” is the Hebrew plural suffix.

The Plot

A plot to commit genocide against the Jews throughout the vast Persian Empire is thwarted by an orphaned, timid foreigner whom God puts in the right place at the right time with the right face. The thwarting of that evil plot is still celebrated nearly 2,500 years later.

Main Character
Esther is the supporting actress
Protagonist invisible yet very present
What’s the Preface?
• Abram has promise from God that he’ll become a great nation (Gen. 12). God keeps promise: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph.
• Abraham’s descendents end up as slaves in Egypt .
• Nearly 500 years later, Moses leads Abraham’s descendants out of bondage and into the Promised Land The Lord leads them through leaders called judges. The people insist on having kings.
• Israel united under Saul, David, and Solomon
• Nation splits into northern ( Israel ) and southern ( Judah ) kingdoms
• North and south destroyed
• People carried to captivity—north, Assyria; south, Babylon
• Cyrus the Great takes over Babylon
• 2 Chronicles 36:11-23
• In first year lets Judah return
• Some choose to remain
• Mordecai and Esther among these
• Cyrus succeeded by Darius then Xerxes

Size of Kingdom is from modern-day Egypt to India
City of Susa : Hebrew: Shushan
•One of several capitals of the Persian Empire, the best known being Babylon . • Susa primarily the winter palace. It was too hot to inhabit in the summer. (Reptiles crossing the road would die from the heat.) Susa today: nothing but ruins, but for centuries it was one of the oldest cities in the world. A fire destroyed it after the reign of Xerxes.
•During the Persian Gulf War, further destroyed.

“ [The first of the Median kings] introduced for the first time the ceremonial of royalty: admission to the king’s presence was forbidden, and all communication had to be through messengers.” –Herodotus, The Histories 1.99

• Marrying a pagan Deut 7:1-4
• Eating defiled food Lev. 11:46-47
Compare Mordecai and Esther with Daniel:
Daniel 1:8-9 – Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials…
Esther starts out hiding her identity.


“Ahasuerus,” when pronounced aloud in Hebrew, sounds close to the equivalent of “King Headache.” The name may have been intended by the author as a stage name rather than the actual historical name of the king.
• Artaxerxes reigned for twenty-one years (486–465 B.C.) and was known to have invaded Greece with a huge army. Yet only about five thousand returned.
• It was after his disastrous Greek campaign that he chose Esther as queen.
• His attitude about monogamy: Esther 2:14, 19
– Herodotus makes mention of Xerxes’ illegitimate sons (The Histories 8.107)
• His attitude about the genocide of his own subjects: Esther 3:8–11

Esther’s Character Arc: “The Queen” 2x in first 4 chapter; 12x in chapters 5–9
This book is full of so-called coincidences:
• The king demands wife’s appearance
• Queen refuses, providing opportunity for Esther
• Esther received favorably, both by eunuch over harem and the king himself
• Esther chosen as queen
• Mordecai in right place/time to overhear a plot
• Mordecai in position to have access to Esther
• Mordecai’s loyalty recorded in king’s annals
• Dice thrown to determine when the Jews are
to be killed fall on 12th month Esther’s unexplained delay in having a second banquet gives the king a chance to have insomnia
• Insomnia prompts reading of chronicles
• Section chosen “happens to be” the part about how Mordecai saved his life• Haman “happens to arrive” at the palace with Mordecai on his mind at the very moment when the king wants to honor Mordecai •King enters Esther’s room at the exact moment Haman falls on her couchThe “gallows” (or tree) Haman installs for having Mordecai impaled is means of Haman’s own destruction
• Not one Jew is listed as killed
• 75,800 enemies destroyed—on the very day when the Jews were to face destruction

• Number of times God is mentioned in Esther: 0
• Number of times prayer is mentioned in Esther: 0
• Number of times the temple or Jerusalem are mentioned in Esther: 0
• Number of times God’s purposes are thwarted in Esther: 0

• The God of Israel shows loyal love time and again to His covenant people.
• The Almighty Lord is sovereign in all His dealings.
• The Lord of providence kindly cares for His people despite their compromises.
• The Lord’s purposes are not thwarted even by sin.
• God is good.
• God loves us.
• God is in control.
• Sometimes it will look like He is not in control.
• That’s an especially good time to yield.
• God can use even our failures for His glory.

Will you trust Him?

Sunday Morning: How To Mourn In The Spirit & The Woman with the Issue of Blood

If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all. They are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. –Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Is it a sin to complain?
Is it a sin to complain to God?
“ACTS”: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
CATS. “Confess first because God can’t hear you if you regard iniquity in your heart” (based on a rigid interpretation of Psa. 66:18).

What about these prayers:
“I was a beast before You” (Psa.73:22)
“How long, O Lord?” (Psa. 6:3)
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psa. 22:1)

The most common form of psalm in The Bible is the lament. Perhaps if we followed inspired examples of legitimized whining—if we spent more time fussing to God than to therapists—we’d write fewer checks for couch time.

While psalms of lament don’t always fit into a handy formula any more than prayer itself does, we do see some frequently recurring elements in lament psalms

(1) an introductory appeal,
(2) a description of the psalmist’s plight (the lament itself), and
(3) a formal request. Then sometimes we also see evidence that the psalmist has received
(4) an oracle from God in response. Perhaps a prophet has delivered a word or the psalmist has had a dream through which the Lord has spoken (cp. Heb. 1:1). Following such an oracle, the lament often ends in
(5) an expression of confidence or praise, though we don’t always see a “happy ending.”

Psalm 12:

1. Find the introductory appeal. The writer may use a simple one-line approach to indicate he is talking to God. In Psalm 12 we read, “Help, Yahweh, for the devout one has ceased.”

2. Determine the psalmist’s plight. Does the writer specifically state his problem, as below?

For the faithful have vanished from the face of the land.
The unholy speak nothingness, each one with his neighbor
From a divided heart they speak flattery (Psa 12:1-2).
In this case evil people are using their words to inflict pain, using smooth words to injure. Do you know any such two-faced people?

3. Identify the formal petition. What does the writer want the Lord to do? Sometimes the psalmist will call down curses on his enemies. This pre-dates the New Testament ethic in which both Jesus and Paul exhort believers to bless their enemies rather than cursing them. Nevertheless, we pray for such blessing within the long-term context of looking toward the day when God will right all wrongs (cf. 1 Thess. 1:6–10).

In Psalm 12, we see the author’s desire for the Lord to bring justice commensurate with the pain—in other words, cut off the very body parts used for inflicting harm:
May Yahweh cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue speaking exaggerations—
Which say, “We’ll talk big;
We can say what we want. Who’s master over us?

4. Look for the hint of a word from God. Remember Saul? One time he looked for direction from the Lord, but when he received only silence from prophet, dream, and Urim, he sought a medium (1 Sam. 28:6–7). Now in a time when God has spoken through His Son and we have the completed Word and the Spirit, we don’t generally expect to receive a direct word in the same way Saul did.

When reading these psalms, we must keep in mind God’s varied methods of speaking in times past. Often a lament will leave out God’s actual words in response to the lament, but the psalmist will express confidence in them, certain they will come to pass. We need to see this “word” as a specific revelation for that situation, rather than as references to “The Word” as a unity of Bible books. Although the actual oracle from God often remains unrecorded, in Psalm 12 we do have an actual response to the victim’s plea:

“Because of the violence done to the afflicted,
Because of the groaning of the oppressed,
Now I will arise,” says Yahweh.
“I will provide safety for the one who gasps for it.”

5. Note words of hope in response to God’s words. Some lament psalms omit final expressions of praise. Psalm 88 ends with the writer seemingly as depressed as when he started. As a result, this psalm became a favorite to me during my darkest days. I identified with someone who felt only grief for a time. Nevertheless, most of the psalms move from trauma to trust. Consider the final expression of confidence in Psalm 12:

Yahweh’s words are words of purity—
silver refined in a furnace of earth, purified completely.
You, Yahweh, You will preserve the victims.
You will protect him from this generation continuously,
For all around criminals walk to and fro
While people exalt worthlessness.

Psalm 6 – How to Talk to God When You’ve Messed Up

Illustration: Filling the car with diesel
“Not in your anger discipline me” – word order suggests he has to be disciplined, just asks that it not be done in anger.
Verse 3 And my soul is greatly dismayed; But Thou, O LORD– how long? He interrupts himself, stammering.

Verse 6 – I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. The idea is that he has shed so many tears, his bed is floating.

Verses eight through ten – Depart from me, all you who do iniquity, For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD has heard my supplication, The LORD receives my prayer. All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly dismayed; They shall turn back, they shall suddenly be ashamed. Somehow he knows God has heard and he expresses trust.

Other psalms of lament: You might start with one of these: Psalm 6, 13, 22, 27B, 44, 69, 70, 74, 102, or 142. Read it and look for the five elements cited above.

The Woman with the Issue of Blood: Mark 5:24-35
What were you doing twelve years ago?

This woman had been bleeding 12 years.

Context: Jesus is on his way to heal a twelve-year-old daughter when this woman interrupts Jesus.

The text says she has a “hemorrhage.” But it’s the same word used in the LXX to refer to a menstrual flow. That means this woman had been a social outcast for more than a decade. According to Levitical law, everywhere she sat became unclean. Everything she touched became unclean. She could not participate in the faith community because God wanted emissions of any kind to remain completely unassociated with any sort of community worship.

Not only has she been a social outcast, but her resources are spent and her physical life is nearly gone. This woman was at the end of herself. She was out of resources.

What about you? Have you come to God and acknowledged your brokenness? We read in John 15 that Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” Are you operating under the illusion that you can fix your own problems? Faith takes us to Christ with a recognition that we’re at the end of ourselves.

She comes inconspicuously and touches his garment because she believes he can heal her. This woman’s faith involved more than mental assent. She was so sure of what she believed that it drove her to get off her feet and go find Jesus. It resulted in action. She pursued him.

Do you believe Christ is able to help you to the point that you pursue him?

The text says that when she touched Him, “Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” Now, usually when a woman has a menstrual flow, she cannot “feel” blood, any more than you can feel blood flowing when you scratch your arm. But if this woman had uterine cancer, she would have been in immense pain. Maybe she had been anemic and now felt energized. Whatever it was she felt from her disease, it stopped and she knew instantly that she had been healed.

Look at Jesus’ response. He realized that power had gone out from him. That doesn’t mean it drained him of power. He felt it proceed, perhaps in the same way that you feel power proceed from you when you hit a baseball.

He looked to see who had done it. This is not what the woman was hoping for. Now her faith is going to require obedience. This is the third thing she teaches us. Faith responds to Christ in obedience.

Verses thirty through thirty-three: “Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.”

Imagine this. It says she is terrified. This is not what she wants. But Jesus is looking for her, so she knows she has to do it. She came and fell at his feet. We read about people falling at the Lord’s feet in scripture and perhaps you have the idea that this was an everyday occurrence. But it wasn’t. It was more like a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Have you ever fallen at someone’s feet? I did once. When I was thirteen and my boyfriend broke up with me. I thought my life was over, so I grabbed his feet and begged him not to leave me. It was an act of utter and humble desperation. So don’t let your kids date at thirteen. It’s too young to have any pride! But that’s not the point…the point is, this is the body language of a person whose life is over unless the person who has power to intervene does something. That is the stance she takes. And she tells him all. How humiliating. To talk about your menstrual problems in front of a huge crowd. But that is what the Lord was asking her to do here. And she obeyed.

Faith obeys. What has God told you to do?

And what happens to the person who comes to end of him- or herself? The one who believes Christ can do anything and puts feet on that faith—a faith that obeys? That sort of faith receives God’s commendation. Look at verse thirty-four.

Jesus says, “Daughter.” It’s the only place in the entire New Testament where we read about Jesus saying that to anyone. And lest there be any doubt about just how precious a daughter is, Mark goes on in the next section to talk about Jairus’s daughter who was twelve years old—she’d been alive for as long as this woman had been sick. Daughter! What an affirmation.

Jesus goes on to say, “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Not only does he affirm her for her faith. He sends her home healed. And while the physical healing is instant, the social and emotional healing has just begun. Jesus tells her to be freed from her suffering…an ongoing process. What a commendation.

In Hebrews we read that without faith it is impossible to please God. But with faith—faith like this woman had—we too can receive his commendation: Well Done-Daughter!

Your life in Christ can be the greatest story ever told!

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