“Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she had been freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:29)
We want things immediately, don’t we? We want them as quickly and as easily—and as painlessly—as possible. Unfortunately, the very best things in life, particularly in the spiritual life, rarely work that way; they take time. They are often a part of a long, hard process that is necessary for our becoming. Thus, while immediately might seem preferable, it is seldom best.
So when we run across the word “immediately” in a passage like Mark 5, it can create a bit of a false narrative if we are not careful. A narrative in which we begin to believe that all healing must happen immediately, which fails to recognize that this particular healing had been twelve years in the making. The bleeding woman, it seems, had to make a twelve-year journey “to the end of herself” before she was desperate enough to reach out for the healing touch of Jesus. Something of great value was going on during those twelve years of exasperation and frustration. God was up to something much deeper and much bigger and much more beautiful than she could imagine. A short-cut would have circumvented that possibility altogether.
And so it is with each of us. All too often we want our “healing” to happen immediately, as well. We want to avoid the long and the hard. The only problem is that when we desire what is easiest over what is best, we open ourselves up to the possibility that we might miss a much deeper work that God is trying to do.
Forgive us, Lord Jesus, when we demand that you act according to our timetable. Forgive us when we accuse you of not caring, or of being absent, because you have failed to act immediately. Help us, O Lord, to know that you are always about doing a deeper work. You are more interested in our becoming than you are in our being comfortable. Thank you for that. Amen.