When I lived in Japan, one afternoon, without warning, I got a hurried call from a church member. She was in the area with her daughter and wondered if they could stop by. I agreed and seconds later the door bell rang. They must have been in the parking lot already. I invited them in and we exchanged pleasantries. I had heard and prayed for her adult daughter but today was meeting her for the first time. I sensed that there was some urgency to the visit, but neither of them were giving me any clues as to what it might be. I introduced myself, I asked questions, but got little response. Was this just a social call? She shared about a health concern she was facing and I prayed for her. Finally, I asked whether I might read a portion of Scripture with them. It was one of those times where you take a chance, not knowing how the person will respond or what God might do.
I turned to Mark 5:24-34, the story of Jesus’ healing of the woman with a discharge of blood. I talked about how the woman had suffered physically for twelve years (v.25). I talked about the emotional drain of always being considered ‘unclean,’ and therefore excluded and isolated. I shared about the desperation she had in going to doctors, using up her savings, only to get worse instead of better (v.26). We talked together about what she might have heard about Jesus (v.27) to believe that in merely touching Jesus’ garment, she might be made well (v.28). We talked about the joy she must have felt in feeling that she had been healed (v.29) and how it quickly would have turned to fear and shame when she heard Jesus ask (v.31), “Who touched me?” And finally we looked at Jesus’ tender words saying, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (v.34), and what faith in Jesus meant and why it was so crucial.
As we looked at the passage together, the daughter spoke little but wept often. She was obviously deeply moved but not ready for a commitment. The visit ended naturally and they parted as quickly as they had come. It was the first and last time that I ever met the daughter. But this week I got a letter from the mother. It was a report of the daughter’s wedding. At the wedding, the bride and groom had made a speech and in it, the bride paused at one point and said, “And for my mother, I’d like to quote the words of Jesus, “Your faith has made you well, go in peace.” The mother wrote to me because she recognized these words as being from the passage I had shared with them that afternoon. To my knowledge the daughter has never been to a church. And I only had one opportunity, over six years ago, to share the gospel with her from the Bible. And yet, after all this time, God’s Word continues to rest with her – I pray still urging her, still inviting her, still moving her the way it did when I first shared it.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
It was a testimony to me of the power of the Word of God. She didn’t remember my words. She wasn’t moved by my words. She may not even remember ever having met me. But years later the Word of God continues to remain with her. It made me remember that my witness to the gospel must eventually lead to and ultimately rest on the words of Scripture. And it made me remember that my teaching and discipleship and my own personal growth must be rooted in God’s Word also. There is no substitute for God’s mighty Word. Do you have a plan for daily Bible reading and reflection? Let God’s Word dwell in you richly as you worship its Author and share its hope.
And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32)
In awe of Him,