by Mike Sanborn
One of the interesting facts we may not realize about Exodus 2 is that it spans a time period of about 80 years from start to finish (Exodus 7:7; Acts 7:23). One of the points from this past Sunday's sermon is how God teaches us to wait on His timing. God was teaching Moses and the Israelites about waiting on Him. But talk about a long time - 80 years! And what good is waiting, especially for such long periods of time as that?
This morning I read Luke 8:40-48, which tells the story of a woman who suffered from some type of bleeding condition for 12 years. Jesus comes to her town and is surrounded by crowds of people as he walks through on his way to heal a 12-year old girl, the daughter of a local synagogue leader. The woman pushed her way through the crowds, persistent in her intent to just touch the cloak of Jesus. She had hope - one might say an odd sense of confidence - that this touch could heal her. And sure enough, it did. She managed to get that touch of Jesus' cloak as she strained her arm through the bodies towards Jesus, and Luke reports "immediately her bleeding stopped" (v. 44). Furthermore, she got an added blessing: Jesus stopped and spoke words of encouragement to her.
But I thought about that 12 years that she suffered before this. Many ancient manuscripts that report this story have added the detail that she spent all her money on doctors to try and fix her debilitating condition (v. 43). After 12 long discouraging years of trying everything she could, she could have easily lost all hope and lost all motivation to try anything more. And yet, here she is, straining through a bustling crowd, all of whom want to be right next to Jesus. What strength and resolve it must have taken to actually reach Jesus and touch his cloak!
Was this strength forged over a long period of time? Was her waiting and waiting for over a decade allowing God to do an invisible work of building up her soul for this wondrous moment and for an unexpectedly blessed future that now lay before her? As we ponder these mysteries, and ponder our own times of waiting, perhaps it is helpful for us to reflect on Paul's words about hope in Romans 5:1-5 and 15:13...
5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
May God shine on you and through you,