You Are Worth It!
She reaches for my hand and smiles. I reach for hers and I force a smile back. I want her to know joy here. I want to know joy here.
At 26 years old, Betty is the mother of a three-year-old boy. She weighs 69 pounds and battles AIDS and tuberculosis. She reaches out her hand. I fight back the tears and force a smile. After all, she might live. She could live and, right now, I know she needs me to believe that she will.
How do you keep believing when the last time you were wrong? When the time before that, and the time before that, you were wrong? I sit down on the side of my couch that is now her bed and ask her about her family. A hot feeling surges up in the back of my throat as I feel my heart start to put up a wall. I should know better. After all, my job is to believe without wavering. His job is everything else.
Matthew 9:20-22 tells this story: “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If only I touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter!’ he said, ‘Your faith has healed you.’” I resonate deeply with this woman. I can see her reaching out for His hem, that desperate reaching and longing just to touch Him—just even the very edge.
I am the woman with the issue of blood, except I am the woman with the issue of doubt. I am the woman with the issue of sin, with the issue of flesh, with the issue of forgetfulness. I am a woman who wants to close my arms to protect my heart that is still so raw from being broken. I want to gather these children to myself and shelter them from the ugly hurt of this world.
But I can’t fold my arms and simultaneously reach out for my Savior. As I reach for Him, I have no choice but to fling my arms wide again. I reach for Betty’s hand and I know, just like that woman, I must seek Him. I must know Him. “If only I touch His cloak…”
And do you know what? He isn’t out of reach. I stretch out my arms and He is right here, just two steps in front of me, clearing the way. The sweet promises of Isaiah flood my mind, “His robe filled the temple.” His hem is wide enough for me and for you and today and tomorrow. Enough to fill and enough to overflow.
I asked God why He allowed me to believe so strongly that Katherine would live when she wasn’t going to. It’s hard to think that my Father saw me in my hope; He knew I was believing and He knew the ending. He answered that He gave me the grace to believe that she would live so that in her final days she would feel hope around her—to feel that she was fought for and worth the fight.
It’s His message to us from the cross and to the woman with the issue of blood, as He stoops down to look into her eyes to speak to her: “You are worth it.” And I want it to be my message to the hurting He brings into my life too: You are worth it. We are for you. He is for you.”
I want my arms to be filled—not just reaching for—with gathering the hem of Jesus. His robe fills the temple. His glory fills the earth. I want my arms to be filled with gathering His grace, His love, His goodness. I want to follow Him wherever He is going and be so full of Him that He is overflowing out of my arms, out of my very life. Even when it means reaching out my hand with a smile to a situation that will hurt. He gave me the grace to hope, so I am asking Him to give me more grace, even if it’s harder to grasp this time. Grace to feel joy and grace to hope for life and grace to fight hard, because people are worth the fight. Grace to have arms so filled with Him that they have to remain open, so He spills out.
I look at Betty and my joy is real. I open my arms to her because she is worth it. And I want you to know today, that you are worth it. He fought for you. You reach, and He bends, He cups your face in His hands, and He says, “Take heart. I am for you.” Keep reaching because He’s right here, His hem is wide.