As I read the Gospel, there’s something that stands out in so many narratives and backstories. Jesus loves desperate people. Whether it’s the pleading father, the paralyzed man whose friends tore the roof off a house, or the sufferings of the entire nation of Israel, desperate people always get His attention.
I can remember times when I was so preoccupied with my work, the game, or a task, that my five-year-old son would grab my face with both his hands to assure I was listening. That’s just how absurdly one-track minded I can get. But that was never the case with Jesus. Nobody had to grab Him by the face. The moment the tassels of his prayer garment were touched, He felt her faith connect with His sufficiency. There is absolute power in the faith of a desperate person.
I’ve spent lots of time trying not to appear desperate, while knowing the deep chasm of my own insufficiency. And there is power in desperation. It’s clumsy at times. When I’m desperate, there’s no telling what might come out of my mouth. My prayers are fragmented. Sometimes all I can pray is the oldest one: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me.” In fact, that’s how I start every morning. It centers me on the truth that I have to cry out for mercy. Every morning. Every evening. And a baker’s dozen times a day. “Lord Jesus, Son of God have mercy.” I’m sure there are those who don’t need his mercy as much as I do, but it’s my broken bread and butter.
It brings me back to the woman reaching for the tassels of Jesus. (Luke 8, Mark 5)
A desperate, sick, bankrupt woman fights her way through the crowd to touch Jesus’ cloak. In Mark, we read that she spent everything she had on doctors but things only got worse. I have been there. It’s when you throw money at a problem and the problem’s appetite for money only grows. No one wants “money pit” problems. They’ll bring you to the end of yourself. Who wants that? There comes a time when you aren’t worried about how humiliating you look. You just lay yourself out there in front of God and everybody because you don’t care what anybody thinks. “In front of” is none of your concern.
As soon as she made contact with Him, He knew it and focused all his attention on her. In one moment, we can agree on a number of things about Jesus. He’s never too late, He’s never too busy, and He’s never too burdened to step into the pain of our desperation. Sometimes, He has to bring us into desperation in order for us to diligently seek Him. That’s the whole point of this life and yet we are often too consumed with the crowd to really stop and focus on our ultimate and preeminent King. That’s too bad, because when it comes down to it, every solution for brokenness, our pain and neediness is no more than a touch away.
Lord Jesus, Son of God have mercy. I have so often wanted a self-instigated salvation without the mess and grit of desperation. There is only one hero in my story. Have mercy in my desperation, so that I can more fully revel in your rescue.