When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed. Mark 6:53-56
So many people. So many needs. It got to the point where the only interaction Jesus had with many was when they touched the hem of his garment.
It must have been hard for Jesus to have limitations that he didn’t have in heaven. In the spiritual realm, somehow God is able to pay attention to millions of people simultaneously. Jesus could only deal with one person at a time. Surely his heart was pulled to connect with each precious soul as he saw their face. Surely he longed for more time with each one.
Over the past few days at the wedding and on vacation, one thing that made my heart sad is that I didn’t have time to have a good talk with all my old friends and my family members. I saw them, they were right there in front of me, but the clock ran out.
At the wedding we called for everyone who had been a part of our church to gather and pose for a picture.
I got a HUGE lump in my throat. So many individuals who are dear to me! It was like my insides weren’t big enough to contain all the emotions I was feeling.
The same was true when I gathered with my family members who I don’t see very often.
And then, as if my heart hadn’t been strained enough, five of my good friends recently moved away. You would think that as I get older, it would get easier to deal with this. But, I tell you, it gets harder!
I so much want to connect and make moments. And when I am able to connect and make moments, I so much long to hold onto them.
It’s like this verse: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds. Yet, mortals still can’t grasp what God is doing from the beginning to the end [of time].” Eccl 3:11, NIV, God’s Word Translation
We feel the beauty, even the sanctity, of the moments God gives us. But we are melancholy because we realize that it is only for a time that we have the beauty. Somehow we know we are made for lasting happiness, but can’t experience it here on this earth.
Our hearts hurt! Yet there is good news. Jesus heals, just as he did when he was on earth.
I think part of his healing is giving us a myriad of good gifts, gifts that fall on us like rain on parched ground.
Over the past couple of weeks I have had many healing times.
There was healing as I saw dreams come true in the wedding of Devonte and LaJasmine.
There was healing through every interaction I did have time to have.
There was healing in being surrounded by love with my family.
There was healing as I took in many scenes of nature’s beauty.
There was healing in visiting my mother’s memorial.
There was healing in being with my grandchildren.
There was healing in having a “date day” with my husband.
I could go on and on.
I use this verse a lot, but it’s so true: “Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.“ (Hebrews 6:7) God showers us with blessings, but we have to recognize them, we have to drink them in! We can’t be so caught up in what is going wrong and what we don’t have that we miss being nourished by what we do have. We can’t be so shut off to pain that we’re shut to the healing.
We are to be “overflowing with thanksgiving.” (Col 2:7) Gratitude is a fountain that we can drink from time and time again. We can make lists, take pictures, treasure things in our hearts. These will help us remember, be thankful, and be renewed.
And something uncanny happens as we do so. Being thankful makes our little transitory moments last. In a sense, we are holding onto them. We are putting time in a bottle. We see that the moments we wished could be more ARE more.
Going back to the story one more time, it would have been tempting for Jesus to minimize the importance of a person simply touching his cloak.
He didn’t have time to love them, or build a relationship with them, or teach them. But it was still big for them. In their world of brokenness, they had a healing moment. And I have to believe that although Jesus didn’t have time for more, God took what Jesus did and used it to keep on working in their lives.
It’s also tempting for us to underestimate the impact of our fleeting interactions with others. But I see it like the loaves and the fishes. God can take little and make it into much more. He can create a positive ripple effect in our moments. Our labor in the Lord is not in vain. (I Cor 15:5)
We will always live with limitations on this earth, having not enough time or strength. But Jesus offers us refreshment in the face of frustration. He offers us power in the face of impotency.
And one day, in heaven, our hearts will be truly satisfied.