Patrice bit her bottom lip nervously
Dew glistened on her lashes as she closed her eyes.
Bitten fingernails caressed each other as she folded her hands.
And her head, heavy with days of expectation, months of faith, and years of prayer, hit her pillow with the force of a meteorite.
At 34, she expected to be married with children.
Instead, she isn’t.
She expected to be living in her own home.
Instead, she isn’t.
She expected to have a better relationship with her sister.
Instead, she doesn’t.
Her attempts at reversing each condition have been glaringly unsuccessful.
But in the face of each disappointing turn, she had held onto the chance that things would and could change.
Until last night.
From her pillow and in a shaky croak, she prayed,
“Lord… I’m afraid to hope anymore.”
Afraid to hope. Fearful of anticipating. Scared to believe.
It happens when in spite of physical, emotional, and spiritual effort, a desire has yet to come to pass.
It’s the hesitancy to trust God to deliver after winding detours and solid roadblocks.
It’s what diseases the heart,
Frustrates the spirit,
And causes faith to leak.
It is an agonizing feeling.
Yet all of this is central to God and our relationship with Him.
Being afraid to hope is not just about the joy. It’s about the journey to the joy.
Surely, the woman in Mark 5 had good reason for her faith to be leaking.
Her body had been broken for a long time.
She had the malfunction of menstruating for 12 years.
Bleeding for 144 months straight.
She tried to remedy the plight and was seen by many doctors.
But the medical visits just left her accounts empty and her condition even more debilitating.
It affected her physically and personally.
As an unclean woman in Jewish society, she couldn’t be married or bear children.
She was effectively alone.
As she went to each physician, I wonder if her thoughts ever flickered with hope.
Maybe this time it will work.
Perhaps this guy will have the cure.
And with each wrong prescription and every year of blood and pain, I wonder if the flicker finally flickered out.
Maybe I’m to be this way for good.
If I was meant to be healed, it would have happened already.
Surely, she had a reason for her faith to be leaking.
Yet, when she found herself in a mob of people following a certain Healer, she mustered up a scoop of faith to
“[come] up behind Him and [touch] the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.”
The edge of the cloak was not a thick strip of cloth.
It was a fringe.
Slivers of thread eliminated 12 years of suffering.
Jesus never needs a lot to bring to pass what He’s already decided.
Jesus saw her tears, frustration, and bewilderment about her state.
Her sorrow was not at all lost on Him.
But the extended length of her anguish never meant that it was to continue for her lifetime.
It was about her journey.
During those 12 years, the Lord prepared, soothed, developed, and nurtured her so that when the answer came, she was not only ready, but got more than she thought.
God Himself spoke to a daughter who was rejected in all eyes but His and made her well.
Without side effects.
Without a follow-up appointment.
Indeed, her waiting was timed to end but in God’s time.
We can become afraid to believe after months of no answer.
Our faith can begin to leak after years of no change.
But like the nameless woman, that is no indication of what the answer is.
Our journey just requires a bit more time.