Hosea 2:16, 17c-18, 21-22; Matthew 9:18-26
When the prophet Hosea lived, Israel and Judah were nearing the end of destroying each other. It was a time of prosperity and peace. Spiritual values also rapidly declined. The worship of idols and sacred prostitution ruled the day. Even Hosea’s sad marriage was a reflection of God’s experience of His marriage with His people. Prophets suffered a deep faith in desperate times. Return to the Lord!, Hosea pleads. God is faithful, forgiving and merciful in love. He is bethrothed to us forever. Still, let’s remember, God is not punishing us to live in hard times. He may not reward us here in the journey, but most assuredly in the end!
Fast forward to Matthew. These miracles too, involve sufferering of utter desperation, offering examples of deep faith. The woman, after twelve years of hemorrhaging, lived a life of pure desolation. She was rebuked for being unclean, exhausted of resources by her physicians. She was simply, an outcast. At the end of her rope, her faith told her that just a touch of the hem of His garment would save her! Imagine her desire! Then imagine the tender and loving words of Jesus, “Daughter! Be of good cheer!! Your faith has made you well!” How merciful and loving is Jesus, bethrothed to the faithful! Have we taken our desperations to Jesus in faith lately?
Back to Matthew: a twelve year-old girl is lingering between life or death and her father is convinced that Jesus can save her. The desperate father witnesses a miracle of healing of the hemorrhaging woman, miracles that he'd only heard about before. Have you ever witnessed miracles of healing in your life that caused your faith to grow? Jesus then raises the little girl from ‘sleeping’, because that is how He sees the death of those He is about to raise. By doing so, He proves He is the ‘resurrection and the life”. These two miracles suggest that in the midst of meeting our needs, He shows us what He does in the life of another. Does it strengthen our faith for something even greater than we expected? Do you encourage others by your witness? What may seem like a desperate time can become a lesson in hope and endurance.
How easy it is to become complacent when we are not suffering! Are we merely waiting to be raised from our sleeping? If God allows us to suffer, how much greater will be our faith? And are we being prepared for the kingdom? How much more then are we like Jesus who also suffered.
By Janine ter Kuile