I Needed to Give Up
by Laura Story, author of I Give Up
Who wants to give up? There are no great war stories about the guy that gave up, and I bet none of you reading this have ever sat on the sidelines of your child’s sporting event, yelling, “Miss that shot! Let the other team score one this time!” Giving up, surrendering, letting go… every one of these terms has a negative connotation. Who in their right mind would want to give up?!
There was a woman in the Bible who also had a health condition. The disciples referred to her as “the bleeding woman”, which I think is quite an unfortunate title. But this was who she was. She had lived with an incurable hemorrhage for 12 years and every remedy she sought left her worse off physically and destitute financially. So imagine her life: ceremonially unclean in her culture, impoverished, lonely and almost hopeless. I say almost, because on that fateful day, she heard that Jesus was passing through her town. So, breaking every rule and social norm, she pushed through the crowd and grabbed onto the hem of His garment. And immediately she was healed. Not only did she receive healing, Jesus would not rest till she identified herself.
“Who touched me?” He insisted.
The Scriptures say she fessed up, telling him her whole story. And his response?
Take heart, daughter. Your faith has made you well. — Matthew 9:22
And in a moment, she was no longer the bleeding woman but a highly treasured daughter of the King.
When we reflect on what made this woman well, it wasn’t her years of efforts, her accumulated resources or her social status. It was her faith. Her faith made her well. But what exactly does this mean? And for men and woman like ourselves who also struggle with incurable sickness and insurmountable circumstances, what does it look like for us to have this kind of faith?
I believe there are two aspects of this woman’s faith that led to her healing. First, she knew that He could. She knew enough about Jesus to know that her best chance at freedom from her hopeless situation was to get to Him. Maybe she had heard stories of miracles He had performed in other towns. Maybe she knew His claims to be God’s Son and had grown up hearing about God working on behalf of His people throughout history. Either way, her faith began with a strong belief that God can. But that is not the only aspect of faith that this woman displayed.
She also knew that she could not. This woman was about as rock bottom as any person could get. She was done pretending that she could fix her own problems. She was done looking to remedies, self-help books or making deals with God. Yes, her faith attested to Jesus’s ability, but it began with an admission of her own inability. Basically, she had to give up.
In what area of your life do you need to stop trying and just give up? What possession, relationship, past sin or future insecurity do you need to let go and trust God with? I cannot promise that God will heal you instantly or that your problem will disappear but there is a deeper healing that happens in our hearts when we learn to trust Him enough to simply let go, to simply say, “I give up”.
A Prayer for Faithful Dependence
by Pete Briscoe
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” - Isaiah 41:13
Jesus doesn’t work harder for those who try harder. So if you’ve been busy muscling up some stellar faith, hoping someday you’d have just enough to have just a little more Jesus, you can stop. Jesus isn’t concerned about the quantity or quality of your faith. He just desires to be the object of your faith.
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God... (Galatians 2:20)
When we depend upon someone other than Jesus, we are going to be disappointed. Our society offers a buffet of choices: health and wellness, dead people, spouses, careers, IRAs, and even pastors. All of them are imperfect and totally unqualified to become the object of your faith.
How about today’s gurus? They’re simply preaching secular legalism – teaching a different list of rules, but rules all the same. Rules can’t hold you up.
I remember my elementary science teacher explaining the human skeleton. If all went well, I’d never see my own bones; but without them, I’d be nothing more than a blob of flesh and muscle on pavement. Same goes with faith. People are always looking for a visible object of faith. Yet, it’s the ascended Christ and the invisible but indwelling Spirit who hold us up in this faith journey.
In fact, Scripture teaches that faith is produced by God’s Spirit in us. We have no control over its volume and quantity in our lives. But we do get to choose whom we trust.
What are you facing today? In whom or what will you put your faith?
Almighty God, renew our hearts so that we may give your words to others. Hold us up in faith and lead us in righteousness. Father, as we begin each day, remind us to place our full dependence on you. You are the author of all things, and through you we are blessed. Amen.