“Well, this has been real educational, but… I don’t believe in the devil.”
“You should. He believes in you.”
Fortunately the opposite is also true. It’s almost a truism. (Jesus loves you. Jesus Loves You®. WWJD?)
Jesus believes in you.
In Luke 8, a bleeding woman presses her way through a jostling crowd. Just a touch she thinks. Just one touch.
Finally there is a gap and she touches the edge of His cloak. Her bleeding stops immediately. Miracle occurred. Jesus could easily have continued on without acknowledging it, but instead He stops and asks, “Who touched me?”
Picture the crowd, with Jesus and His disciples in the middle of it. He’s looking around, waiting for her to step forward. Everyone is either staring at Him or glancing curiously at their neighbour. Moments pass. No one owns up, but still He waits. Now it’s getting awkward. The disciples are embarrassed and the people are getting antsy. There’s whispering and the uneasy shuffle of feet.
“But Master,” Peter says, a little exasperatedly, trying to salvage the situation, “we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.” Remember, they’re on their way to Jairus’ house because his daughter is ill. Jairus is president of the meeting place, so he’s an important guy. Peter wants them to get a move on.
But Jesus doesn’t budge.
Eventually the woman reveals herself. She’s afraid, probably for a variety of reasons, amongst others the fact that, because she’d been bleeding, she would have been considered ‘unclean’. Her touching Jesus’ cloak would have rendered Him unclean as well.
She confesses what she did and what happened – she’s healed. The crowd is part awe, part derision, part suspicion. There are probably a few people present who wouldn’t mind Jesus doling out some scorn. Who does she think she is, after all? Just grabbing His cloak like that?
But Jesus says, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”
What He doesn’t say is, I knew it was you all along. I knew how much it cost you to stand up. I knew how hard it must have been for you to trust me. But I knew you could do it. I believe in you.
Sometimes it feels like we are in that crowd around Jesus. We’re ill and we’re desperate. We’ve tried everything else. We don’t know what to do. We’re on the verge of giving up. You see Him ahead of you in the crowd and you think, If I could just touch Him. But there are so many people and you are so tired.
But the next moment the crowd opens up, and He’s standing right in front of you. If you’ve stumbled and fallen, He holds out His hand, ready to hoist you to your feet. He’s waiting. Anyone else would have left you there while you grappled with your issues, but He makes it clear that He won’t be leaving without you.
He knows that a lot of the time it’s hard for us and that we struggle and make mistakes. Sometimes we crowd Him from our lives. Sometimes we aren’t even looking for Him.
But none of that matters. The thing is, He does love you.
He won’t leave you.
He will never give up on you.
He wants you. All of you.
He believes in you.
If you internalised this notion, what would be different in your life?
Would you still doubt the value of your faith or the importance of your service? Would you still hesitate when He beckoned you out of your comfort zone?
We all know what it’s like when people don’t believe in us – it’s a blow.
But knowing that God believes in us?