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This article originally appeared in the August 28, 1983, Pentecostal Evangel

The revival we need (May 27, 2001)

Revivals 65 years ago (March 18, 2001).

A 1908 Valentine's story (February 11, 2001)

We must tell them (August 11, 1997)

Christian = bigot? (January 21, 1990)

Touch Him where you can (August 28, 1983)

Paranoid Christians (June 7, 1970)

A code to live by (July 12, 1964)

The story of two sons (January 17, 1948)

Little talks with the office editor (January 1, 1916)

 

Touch Him where you can

By Lon Woodrum

Simplicity marked that woman. Her knowledge of theology was probably scant, but one thing showed in her like a light: faith.

When she saw people crowding about Jesus, she pushed her way through them to get to Him. For she had said, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed" (Matthew 9:21, NIV).

She did not ask for great revelations from heaven. In fact, she did not invoke the whole power of the Almighty nor ask that God's Son give all His attention to her case. If only she could touch His cloak, that would be enough.

One feels the force of that word touch. God, to the woman's mind, was accessible at a low point as well as at a high.

Here her simple theology is remarkable and is supported by Scripture. God is not residing in far infinitudes beyond human reach. He is nearer than we understand, capable of being "touched with the feelings of our infirmities." He bears no resemblance to the untouchable gods of time.

What if His "judgments are unsearchable, and his ways past finding out"? What if a thousand questions about Him remain unanswered? We do not need to altogether understand Him to accept Him. His universes may be too much for us; but He who made them made also the sand that lies warm in our palms.

The sick woman in this story did not get even a handful of Jesus' cloak. She only touched the edge of it. But the contact threw a switch which brought God's power to make her whole.

In our quest for God we may overstep ourselves. We may ask for too much! "A leaf quivers in the sun," said the poet, "and I remember my Maker." We do not have to have the grand entrance. Just to touch Him, however quietly, is something "out of this world."

The woman did not ask even to touch Jesus. "If I only touch his cloak!" she cried.

A rose blown in the wind could turn us toward God. A sunset could bring us to His altar. A sword of grass could stab our heart with conviction of His glory.

"But I am not satisfied with merely touching the hem of Christ's garment, " a man complained. "I want to put my head on His heart, like John."

But John didn't begin with Jesus that way! Touching the hem of His garment is a place to start.

Some seem scarcely to get beyond that. But we should not berate them. Perhaps they are limited in their capacity to comprehend Him. Yet their limitations do not diminish His understanding of them nor lessen His love for them. "Take heart, daughter," He said, "and the woman was healed from that moment" (Matthew 9:22, NIV).

There seem to be times when Jesus would direct our faith downward rather than upward. "You believe in God," He said, "believe also in me." Believe in the Servant walking in scuffed sandals, hooted at by the mob, spiked to a cross. He who makes systems of burning suns can sit down by a woman at a well and ask for a drink of water. Touch Him where you can!

"I was driving by a country church," a man testified, "overburdened with grief and guilt, when I heard a choir singing an old hymn. They were very ordinary singers, but I did not need to hear an angelic symphony! The singing from that untrained choir touched my heart, for God was in it; and I went home to Him."

The woman in our story, burdened with illness, had touched many people in her quest for relief; and nothing had happened. But when her fingers brushed the edge of Jesus' robe, her sickness fled. Just a touch on the edge of a cloak – and the energy of the Almighty was tapped.

Let no man look lightely on such a Gospel as this! You do not have to be a mighty theologian or know all the intricacies of the Word. Put forth your faith. Begin with a touch – and who knows what wonders lie beyond that? Touching the edge of His garment can be the beginning of an eternal adventure.

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