Living in Your Holy Tension

Originally published April 15, 2010.

Jesus healed the woman with the disease that caused her to bleed.Not much is known about this woman.Not even a name.But what this woman did remained clear in people's minds.Three of the four gospels have recorded what she did.They missed her name but they did not miss what she daringly did.

First some-back story.For twelve years she suffered from some disease that caused her to bleed.For twelve long years she suffered.If I suffer past a couple of days people hear about it.God hears about it.My husband hears about it.My tolerance level for suffering is rather low.I am sure that this lady had reached her tolerance level years earlier.


But one day out of her years of suffering she heard that this Jesus was coming.Perhaps.Maybe.Do you think He could heal her?Could this living misery actually come to an end?If only…

So she braved her face and left her home where she had locked herself up to live in her misery by herself.Jewish customs required her to live in this shack.But who had truly put her into this shack?The customs or her misery?

Upon leaving her house her hopes were dashed.The crowds around this Man were enormous.She would never be able to get through the crowds.And if she did, how would she get His attention?But this was a desperate situation.The tension of hope was rising within her."She said to herself, "If I can just touch His clothes, I will get well."(Matthew 9:21)If only...

She was healed.With her disease she risked the chance of being stoned to death just for leaving her home.Yet the tension was worth it to her.Just to touch His clothes.And I'm sure Jesus was delighted to heal her.She dared to touch Him and He responded out of the loving relationship He wants to have with each of us.

Throughout the Bible there are accounts similar of this--people reaching out to God and God responding.People going outside of the boundaries of what is “suppose to be” a relationship with God.And God responding out of love and His desire to be in relationship with us.

So why does my life fall too often into the comfort of the "suppose to be's" complaints?“God, I’m living for you so this is suppose to be…”Or “My youth group is suppose to be…”Or “My senior pastor told me this but…”Or “I’m suppose to be married by now.”Or “I’m suppose to die before my son dies.”Why do I prefer the comforts of living with these “suppose to be’s” to the discomfort of living in holy tension which means living through these “suppose to be’s”?

I’ve been talking with a young man lately.He has a heart-question which at times cripples him, sometimes to despondence.He wants to know why he was born.He is afflicted with some mental issues which he believes burdens those who love him.They definitely are insurance burdens.Plus his mom, who is now deceased, said he should not have been born.

My advice to him is to question away.Ask God that question over and over again.Live in the tension of that question.Push through the tension to try to touch Jesus’ hem.This tension may last for 12 years—or the rest of his life.Truth is I don’t believe Paul was ever cured of his thorn in the flesh so he had to continue to push through his tension every day he lived.

I also advised him to read Job.I knew he would identify with Job’s whining misery.The result of Job’s list of “suppose to be’s” was God responding with question after question.No answers.No insight.No answer to the “suppose to be’s” that Job had listed.Just questions.But here is the greater truth:God responded.God will respond to this young man too.

Back to our unnamed heroine.Jesus did more than respond with a quick and anonymous healing.That was what she thought was enough.Jesus also turned to her and said, “Take heart…”He cared enough to ask about her heart, to listen to her story, even if it dragged into her whining misery.For her she found someone who actually asked to hear her complaints--even though Jesus was on His way to heal a dying girl.There was urgency in the air.The crowds were rushing Him, pressing Him, insisting He keep going before it was too late for the girl. But this woman’s desire to move beyond the “suppose to be’s” caught Jesus’ attention.She was healed and still Jesus stopped to listen.

But Jesus did even more than that.He responded by calling her “Daughter.” (Matthew 9:22)It’s the only recorded time that Jesus addressed someone that way.

If Jesus’ desire was simply to heal her, He could have kept walking after she touched Him. After all the moment she touched His robe, she was healed. Jesus had reason to keep moving--if that was all He was concerned about. He didn’t have to stop, talk and listen. But Jesus did all those things. He wanted to let her talk, to tell her story, to be heard by someone. And He wanted to call her “Daughter.”For that is when her heart was healed.

Despite her physical healing, she probably would have continued to stay holed-up in that shack. She could have continued to carry her shame even after the healing.Twelve years can do some mind-damage.But once you’ve been called “Daughter” by Jesus, you walk in a new way.This all happened because she pushed through the “suppose to be’s.”She pushed through the tension and was called “Daughter.”

We at Wild Frontier love to push through the “suppose to be’s.”The standard youth ministry methods haven’t satisfied the urgency of the need to reach our teens.How can we go beyond human limitations?How can we draw upon God’s supernatural power to live beyond our limits?

The same push needs to be active in our personal lives.What are the “suppose to be’s” that hold us back from truly knowing our calling, our giftings, our quirks that make us unique to be used by God?Why were you born for such a time as this?Living in that holy tension is not comfortable.It also contains times of failure.But to push through…you can write the ending of what that would mean to your personal life.