Tag: transformation

Reasons Why Listening is Powerful

Just a week ago, I talked to my middle school kids at Wyldlife club about the story of the bleeding woman found in Mark 5. I quickly found that condensing this story into a five minute message would be a challenge, and this that this Biblical account is rich, powerful, and worth re-visiting and looking at in depth.

The main theme of the story is simple but powerful: Jesus wants to listen to you.

The Biblical account begins with Jesus disembarking a boat after a long journey, when he is approached by a synagogue ruler, Jairus. Jairus frantically begs Jesus to come with him, requesting him to heal his daughter, who had fallen ill and was nearing the point of death. Jesus obliged and followed Jairus through town.

However, on his way, Jesus was engulfed by a large crowd. In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding out for twelve years. She had spent nearly all she had paying doctors to fix her condition, but she had only progressively gotten worse. This woman was living in pain, in shame, and in poverty, and was in desperate need of a miracle.

It was the woman’s first instinct to reach out to touch Jesus’ cloak to be healed… of course it was. But little did she expect the response she actually received.

“And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my garments?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you said, ‘Who touched me?’ And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.'” (Mark 5:30-34)

In the process of Jesus’ encounter with this woman, Jairus’ daughter died. Although we later see Jesus raise the daughter to life, the fact that she died is crucial in understanding the weight of this story.

This story teaches us two incredible truths about Christ’s character:

1. Jesus stops to listen to us. 

Jesus was in the middle of completing something incredibly important, but in the midst of his busy day, he stopped for a sickly, poor woman who was healed instantly upon touching his cloak. He did not have to stop for the woman, she would have been healed either way, but he stopped because he wanted to. Which leads me to my next point:

2. Jesus makes the “unimportant” people known.

For Jesus to stop for anyone, let alone an unclean woman who was likely looked down upon in her town, was societally unacceptable. In the Bible, we see Jesus stop for the outcasts time and time again. Jesus cared little about what was societal praised or accepted, but instead, focused on loving people. In this instance, Jesus completely postponed curing the synagogue ruler’s daughter, even to the point of her death, to tell the bleeding woman her faith healed her, and to go in peace. These words and this interaction with Jesus undoubtedly changed the woman’s life forever. Not only was she physically healed, she was spiritually affirmed.

So how does this affect us?

Truths about Jesus’ character should affect us both in our relationship with Christ and our relationship with others. This means that:

We should realize that we worship a God who is personal and listening to us.

Even if we feel like our problems are trivial or unimportant, or that other people have “bigger problems,” Jesus is equally invested in our lives and is listening to each of us. We can go to Jesus with all our problems, and know that he is listening and genuinely involved in the trajectory of our lives. He is accessible 100% of the time, and he has our best interest in mind.

We should be treating others with the same genuine interest and respect that Jesus showed to the bleeding woman.

We, much like Jesus, live busy lives filled with checklists of places to be and important things to complete. I would beg to differ that Jesus was even MORE busy that us, since he was a celebrity of his day and was in incredibly high demand by all those around him, not to forget to mention he was also God in the flesh. Despite all that, Jesus stopped. Jesus stopped to make someone feel important.

Why aren’t we doing what Jesus did? Why aren’t we stopping our busy days to listen to a friend struggling with something, visiting a family member who we haven’t seen in awhile, buying a meal for the homeless person on the street corner, or even smiling at a stranger who seems to be having a bad day?

Why aren’t we stopping our days to show people their value?

We certainly aren’t Jesus, and we can’t physically or spiritually heal someone with our presence. But what we can do is this: listen & provide hope. Listen to people’s needs, their dreams, their hurts, and their stories. Then be that consistent voice of encouragement in their lives.

I think if we all stopped for a moment and lived like this, we would be surprised at how unimportant our busyness is, and realize how much value is found in simply stopping and listening.

When Battling the Uncontrollable

We’ve all been there… the moment when we receive news that shakes us to the very core.

A diagnosis.

A divorce.

A lost job.

A break-up.

A death.

All of these circumstances differ, but seem to contain a common theme: they are all unexpected, and we have very little control over their outcome. Over the past few months, I have been challenged by circumstances that I did not prepare for and definitely did not see coming. They were situations I had little control over, but seemed to be directly affected by. In these situations, God has challenged me by teaching me what it means to surrender.

Here’s the truth: I am a fixer. I like to fix things, especially people. I don’t like watching people hurt, watching people struggle, or watching relationships crumble. I will do anything I can to fix situations in order to keep the peace between people. However, this summer, I learned that it is extremely difficult to fix relationships that are not yours, and it is impossible to change people with absolutely no desire to change.

Watching relationships crumble is heartbreaking, especially when the people involved mean the world to you. It is hard to stand by, watching hearts break and lives fall apart, and being able to do nothing. In fact, the concept completely goes against my savior complex. If I can’t help you or do anything to fix the situation, I feel like I’ve failed.

In this, God has been teaching me surrender. Immediately after my life seemed to be falling apart, I read the following in Jesus Calling:

“You will never be in control of your life circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control. Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know me in greater depth and breadth. I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways. I am always doing something new within my beloved ones. Be on the lookout for all I have prepared for you.”

After reading this and dwelling on it for a long time, I have come to this realization:

Sometimes circumstances have to fall apart in order for your life to fall together.

This is where the concept of surrendering comes in. Sometimes, we have to surrender our circumstances to God to allow Him to create beauty from our brokenness. We have to be okay with knowing we cannot fix things. Some things are not meant to be fixed, because God is transforming the old into something new.

When we cling to old ways, trying to adjust them to become compatible with our new lifestyle, we are not trusting God.

We have to have hard things happen to shape us and prepare us for what God is doing in our hearts. Having a relationship with Jesus is equivalent to going on an adventure, one that is unpredictable, exciting, and full of purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 promises us that “I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jesus loves you, and He wants you to prosper.

When we surrender ourselves: our plans, our pride, and our perception of perfect, we are able to best perceive our purpose.

Don’t try to fight everyone’s battles, including your own. Instead, hand the sword to Jesus, and stand behind His shield in perfect surrender.

<3, Bri