Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CROWD (07/06/17)
TITLE: Pushing Through
By Dave Walker
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The concern in Joseph's eyes cut me like a knife. I watched his hands clenching; his concern was mixed with frustration. We'd slept in separate beds for years.
How I wanted to satisfy him -- to be the wife he wanted in every way. I cooked and washed for him, entertained his friends and kept our house clean, but at night I'd have to say once again, "I'm sorry, I'm still bleeding. I'm unclean. You can't come near."
Then the Nazarene came to town and my hopes rose. There were stories: Lepers healed, demonized people delivered, blind folk seeing and the deaf hearing. I knew, if I could just get to Him...
"Joseph, I've found the answer. Please, Joseph, go to the Nazarene and tell him our problem. Ask if he'll come and see me."
I'd seen that look before and it sent my hopes plummeting. Joseph's burly form and black, bushy beard hid a shy man who balked at conflict. He averted his gaze and talked to the window.
"I-- I can't go, Miriam. I can't just tell a strange man your problem...in public. You're unclean. It's a shameful thing. How can I tell him that?"
"I beg you, Joseph -- as your wife, who longs for you. Please.... It's the chance of a lifetime." The tears pricked at my eyes. I didn't recognise my own voice that spoke from a pounding heart.
I tried to cajole him. "You know I can't go myself, Husband. There's a crowd around Him. I'm unclean. I can't get to him without touching them. It's against the law. If they find out, who knows what they'll do to me."
"We've tried everything. Don't bother the Nazarene. We don't know if the stories about him are true."
The Book says, Hope deferred makes the heart sick. My heart broke that night.
The next day I was at the window when I heard it: cheering, animated chatter, the scuffling of sandals on hard ground. I peered out and saw the crowd.
Then I saw Him. I had to get to Him. Throwing caution to the wind, I rushed down the stairs into the street. If I could just touch Him; no-one will know. The crowd was dense. A man obscured my view. I ducked past him. I saw Miriam and hid behind my shawl lest she recognise me. I pushed against the person in front and felt the suffocating crowd at my back. I stood on feet, brushed hard against those in front, dodged and pushed to get to Jesus. With each thrust from behind, I inched myself around those in front.
Now he was just three people away. I jostled past the man ahead as he turned to talk to his friend. Finally... I reached out and touched His cloak.
A warm rush of pure love filled my body and instantly I knew. I was healed. All the nights alone in frustration -- all the shame -- the wasted money on doctors -- gone instantly! Now, to melt from the crowd and go home to rejoice with Joseph.
But then Jesus stopped, and the crowd with him. I was hemmed in and couldn't move. He looked around asking, "Who touched me? Power has gone out from me." He must have felt the wave of love flow from Him as I felt it flow into me. My knees were weak and my hands shaking as I knelt before Him, confessing to Him before the whole crowd. "It was me, Jesus."
Unclean woman! Get out of here! I braced myself for the words I knew were to come -- words I saw in the eyes of the crowd. I cringed as He opened his mouth to speak. What's that? No condemnation? What did He call me? Daughter? As He spoke of peace, I felt it pour over me.
Joseph and I are closer than we've ever been. He can hold me and touch me and we dream of more children. I can't help telling all I meet, "Don't be ashamed or afraid to approach Jesus. If you're bleeding physically or in your heart, push through the crowd. Whether your crowd is your cynical friends, or your own self-doubt, push through. He'll take away your shame and make you whole."
I know He will. He did it for me.
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