I have a friend who battles chronic, debilitating autoimmune disease, just as I do. We talk often about whether we really believe the promises of God regarding healing. Do we just know some healing scriptures, or do we KNOW Jesus Christ as our Healer? William Barclay put it this way: “So often we have a kind of vague, wistful longing that the promises of Jesus should be true. The only way really to enter into them is to believe them with the clutching intensity of a drowning man.”
What does “clutching intensity” look like? Let’s check out a few examples (they’re all over the Bible).
So Jesus got up and went with him, along with His disciples. Suddenly a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak. She said to herself, “If only I touch His cloak, I will be healed.”Matt. 9:19-22
Talk about “clutching intensity”! This woman spent all her money trying to get well. She was way past hoping and wishing for healing. Her only answer was to passionately pursue the Healer. She literally grabbed at His hem, and when she did, the answer came. Jesus responded, “Take courage, daughter . . . your faith has healed you” (v. 22).
Then there’s the Canaanite woman with the demon possessed daughter (Matt. 15:21-28). She cried out to Jesus for help; but because she was a Gentile, the disciples tried to send her away. Even Jesus reminded her that His focus was toward the Jews. Despite all this, she refused to back off, reminding Jesus that “even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table” (v. 27).
Her intensity got Jesus’ attention. And as with the first woman, He commended her faith; “O woman,” Jesus answered, ‘your faith is great! Let it be done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour” (v. 28).
How to enter into God’s promises
We’re all a bit like these two women. We may not arrive at the clutching phase until we exhaust the world’s resources. It’s much easier to run to doctors, counselors, pharmacies, therapists, financial advisors, or whatever else we put out faith in, than it is to cling to God. God doesn’t have to be talked into helping us. It’s His nature to heal, deliver, and set free (see John 10:10). But He is looking for our faith to rise up and demonstrate that He alone is the answer.
Jacob wrestled with the angel until his hip was dislocated (Gen. 32:24-32). As we wrestle with our problems, God “dis-locates”, or distances us from our pride, self-effort, and confidence in the flesh. But it’s not the wrestling itself that wins the victory, it’s our faith. Once we let go of everything else, we must grab onto the Lord like Jacob did, refusing to release Him until we get our blessing.
Go low to go high
Is there a shortcut to the place of intense faith in Christ? If there is, I haven’t found it. We must all contend with something. But take heart because the lower you go, the closer you are to victory. Notice that the woman with the issue of blood had to bend down to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak. The Canaanite woman received the crumbs under the table, and Jacob most certainly wrestled on the ground. Each one got God’s attention with the kind of humble, but persistent pursuit that demonstrates great faith.
Let go of your vague wistful longing that Jesus’ promises are true, and take hold of the One who promised. He alone is your answer.
But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.Hebrews 11:6*
Never, never pin your whole faith on any human being: not if he is the best and wisest in the whole world. There are lots of nice things you can do with sand; but do not try building a house on it.C.S. Lewis
*Amplified Bible Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation All rights reserved www.lockman.org