The group is called Woman's Walk. It's a big room of women who meet faithfully each Wednesday morning and, well, walk together through scripture studies. Last year, I was spoke on Rahab and Lydia. I loved every minute of preparation and then sharing. Rahab was prepared and ready to go, complete with a red satin chord for each of us to hold onto and pray that we'd be so obedient to the God of the Hebrews. The night before I spoke, God awakened me at 1:00 to revise my talk. As I reread the story He showed me that Rahab must have been spoken to by His Holy Spirit. Because she knew who God was. She trusted Him completely with her life and her family, obeying. Joshua 2:9 has her saying,
“I know that the LORD has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you."
I know. She knew.
It was wonderful fun to share how we meet him through Rahab. My experiences have been wonderful. I learn so much each time and have the pleasure of hearing from women, later, as we go about how the LORD spoke to them in the study.
This time? Limited prep. I shared the story of Jairus. The study had us look deeply into what happens to our faith in the face of death. It was good. I'd told the story more than once in VBS, where God takes me deeper than I ever expect. I reviewed. I prayed, but I didn't get to the real preparation the way I like to. Somehow though, I didn't feel fearful.
At 1ish, God met me at my dining room table and showed me how He wanted us to look at the story. (Mark 5, Luke 8) He wanted a comparison of the man, the (hemorrhaging) woman and Jesus. And He wanted me to precede the entire discussion with a heart-piercing observation from a book by Elizabeth Alves. The author and her husband were in Africa in the 70's and saw huge works of the Holy Spirit. 23,000 people had been healed of illnesses, etc. and she was taken by the fact she was living out the book of Acts. She pondered the why and why not and asked God if it were that we don't receive these healings because we're so attached to doctrine and tradition. She shared His reply:
"No, Daughter, these people are receiving because they have no fear of man."
The words are perfect. We don't receive because our fear God is eclipsed by our fear of man. But it wasn't for Jairus. Or the bleeding woman. Jairus set aside his status at the synagogue and knelt at Jesus feet. Desperation meets understanding of who Jesus is. And he sets aside the truth that the priests will likely be furious. He risks much.
And the woman, the unceremonially clean woman who can't be touching the people in the crowd, to say nothing of this amazing Rabbi, Jesus, sets aside all fear and makes sure she touches the tzitzit. She knows there is healing there, with Him, and she doesn't care what the people of Capernaum think, or perhaps, do to her.
My fear of man is on notice. It gets in the way of living the abundant life and has no place in abiding in Him.
So, I got to share more than the story of the miracle, but the reality of what might be stopping us from receiving from the One Who Loves Us. And isn't that a miracle in itself.