Isn’t is so frustrating to search so hard for something just to find it in “The last place you looked”? Truth is, once you finally find it, you wouldn’t continue to look. So, whether you found it immediately or after days of searching, whatever you are looking for is always in the last place you look. Wouldn’t it be great if we always knew where to look? Think of all the time and frustration it would save.
She knew the frustration of searching…and searching…and searching. I wonder sometimes why Jesus felt the need to mention her. In fact, her name was never mentioned..just her actions. She was looking for something.
As Jesus walked through a crowd on the way to heal a dieing child, a multitude of people followed him from one point to the next. She was in that crowd. She was following him. She knew first hand the art of searching desperately for something only to come up empty handed time and time again.
Storms are no respecter to age, race, creed, color, or financial status. Storms seldom come along just once. She (for the sake of conversation shall be called “Isabella”), had experienced more than her share of storms. In fact, I dare say, there were multiple hurricanes haunting her. She came alone that day in search of her virtual umbrella, which leads me to believe, she had spent her life alone. Her entire life.
With lines of regret forming the deepest of crows feet, she hid in the crowd. “Isabella” was use to hiding. Memories of her childhood reminded her that she was unworthy of attention. Neighborhood girls gawking at her unusual silence, boys kicking up dust at the smell of her unclean clothes. Her past reminded her that walking alone was her only path to freedom, or the least amount of pain.
Years passed with one mistake following another. She searched for love anywhere she could find it. She searched for acceptance, understanding, and yes, peace. Each overturned stone offered less hope than the one before. Each passing year brought yet one more gray hair into her veil of “independence”.
The only thing, in fact, that she counted on faithfully was the next storm. She knew it was coming. She could smell the rain like a farmer plowing a field. She felt the thunder long before seeing the lightening. She was no stranger to the rain. Throwing her shoulders back, she braced for a tough one. Twelves years of thunder followed her. This storm was more than she could handle. Doctor after doctor, she searched for a medical answer. One bad check after another, she paid for inconclusive tests. The doctors and counselors were all too happy to accept her money. They could see the desperation in her eyes and with a pat on the back, they sent her to look somewhere else for the cure.
For twelve years, “Isabella” searched every nook and cranny. She found herself at the door of every priest, every distant relative, every shelter begging for the answer to the hemorrhaging that had imprisoned her for most of her adult life. She had become so accustomed to swimming up stream, it almost seemed normal.
She began to question her worthiness. She questioned where the ones who should have loved her had mingled off to. Where was the life she had dreamed of as a young girl holding her first baby doll…the man of her dreams…the house on a hill…2.3 children??? Decades had slipped by without so much as a knock at the door, and she had nothing but regret, mistakes, fear, and unresolved searches to show for it. Until today!!!
She had come to the end of resources. “Isabella” had done everything in HER power to heal herself, to fit into society, to reach her goals. She gave it all she had and still had nothing. Until today!!! Finally, after complete exhaustion, with one last hope, she reached out for the one person she believed could finally heal her. This was the last place she looked.
Her heart was racing. With sweaty palms, dirty feet, and a torn skirt, she hurried her way through the crowd. Knowing she had but one chance to be at the exact spot he would be, she elbowed and shoved each rubbernecker that stood between her and her healer. The guards cleared the way. Children crouched below their parents to see his feet. This was her last chance. Her last hope at a future. The last place she could look.
Like the sweet smell of a Carolina pine on a Spring morning, a breeze settled in and seemed to open a path just wide enough for her to get to the front of the line. Glaring at the dirt below was second nature. As he passed by, her eyes instinctively searched the ground for a focal point as she waited for her divine moment.
In the blink of an eye, decades of pain and rejection came full circle. The pounding of her heart threatened to scare her out of reaching toward him. Her fear of failure pushed her forward. Just as he passed by, the tips of her skinned fingers brushed against his hem.
“Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30) The disciples laughed at the thought of him asking in such a crowd.
In fear, she stepped forward to own her actions. Like old friends sipping over a cup of coffee, she told him her entire story. Public speaking had never been her talent. Today, she could care less. She cried about her past. She laughed with her new found friend. She held onto his hand like a beacon on a stormy night. The storm had finally ended as she put away her umbrella.
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction” (Mark 5:34)
With a new spirit and her head held high, she flowed through the crowd like a new bride. Tears of joy streamed down a face that finally held a smile. With a new friend added to her “in-box”, she was free. As she made her way to the far end of the crowd, she thought to herself, “if only I had looked there first!!!”
How often do we work ourselves into a frenzy leaning on our own understanding? How often do we ask the doctors, the priest, even our long lost friends for the answer? I’ve been there. I’ve read every self help book, every “Dear Abby” article, and searched every lost and found. If only I had gone to the Father first. If only I had been obedient in my trust and submission. Oh the years of searching I could have saved. Certainly after finding the answer in Him, it was the last place I looked. It is the only place I will ever look again.