We find ourselves in that place sometimes. Sometimes we find ourselves drowning there.

It’s that point existing just beyond the extreme end of pretending we have it all together. It’s that point where you have somehow managed every stress, every hurt, every crisis, every storm until this point, but that one thing, that one unexpected thing, whether it be an unbudgeted expense, a terrifying diagnosis, an out-of-the-blue confession, a dreaded phone call, the unimaginable situation… or perhaps that juggling act was so extreme that it took only something as trivial as your child coming home from school saying they need a plain white shirt for school tomorrow to send you sailing over the edge into that pit of “there’s-nothing-left-I-am-at-the-end-of-myself!!” Perhaps, though, it is just one situation, one thing that is so big, so impossible, so unexpected, so unbearable, it sends you soaring off the cliff of desperation. The mask comes off. Desperation.

Desperation [des-puhrey-shuh n] noun 1. the state of being desperate or of having the recklessness of despair.; 2.the act or fact of despairing; despair.

That’s not helpful unless you know what desperate means… Desperate [des-per-it, -prit] – adjective 1. reckless or dangerous because of despair, hopelessness, or urgency; 2.having an urgent need, desire, etc.; 3. leaving little or no hope; very serious or dangerous; 4. extremely bad; intolerable or shocking; 5. extreme or excessive.; 6. making a final, ultimate effort; giving all; 7. actuated by a feeling of hopelessness. (Reading the phonetic spelling of that word made me see the root.  De-Spirit.  What a hopeless place. Yes.  I have been there. You are not alone. There are others.)

But when you reach that point, and you cross that line, every breath becomes a challenge.  Every step takes effort.  The world seems to spin either incredibly fast or gravely slow.  I’ve ridden the line.  I know it’s a tight-rope with a  steep drop off.  You are not alone. Desperation is a place.

If you know this place, if you’re close to this place, if you are climbing out of this place, I am compelled to try to give you a message of hope and encouragement.

As I read, The Day I Met Jesus, by Mary DeMuth and Frank Viola, I was moved to share the stirrings in my heart (I definitely recommend that book). A common thread I see in many recorded Jesus-encounters (especially the ones involving healing and transformation) is desperation. Desperation is the place we find and encounter the fullness of Christ.
desperation blog

Let’s just take the woman with the disorder where she had been bleeding for  12 years (if you’re unfamiliar, I share it below. No worries). Let’s dive into that time and culture to better grasp her situation, see her, if you will.  She was a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years straight, making her and anyone she comes in contact with ceremonially unclean.  In our culture today, the disorder would be a health issue, but her level of uncleanness is not that big of a deal to us, but in that culture, it was criminal and punishable by death. Since she was a threat to literally everyone, she undoubtedly lived a life of complete isolation and solitude, after all the failed doctors’ visits.  She couldn’t be married because her husband would also be unclean. Physically, she must have been anemic and incredibly weak and tired. Emotionally, she had no community, fellowship or support.  She was alone with her haunting illness. In a culture where men were the ones who worked and provided, she was left with nothing, doctors expenses had left her poor and unhealed, in fact her condition was reportedly worse than before. This poor, desperate and very lonely woman… my heart just aches for her.  I know she was desperate because only desperation could have compelled her to do what she did.

This unclean, weak and lonely woman, knew that Jesus was the answer.

Let me repeat that last part, she knew that Jesus was the answer.

Do we know that?  We need to… desperately.

She knew if she were to just touch the hem of His garment, she would be healed.  She didn’t need to be touched by Him.  She didn’t need to sit with Him.  She didn’t need Him to say anything.  She just needed to touch the hem of His garment. Her desperation gave birth to faith. As a by-product of her suffering, she knew in faith that to just touch the hem would heal her, His hem would be enough.

There was one really big problem.
Jesus was exceptionally popular at this point, and crowds had abundantly gathered around Him, thick crowds of many undoubtedly ceremonially clean men. This desperate, unclean, weak and lonely woman would have to plunge through a crowd of people who most likely knew that she was “that woman”.  Having been to many doctors and suffered as long as she had, there is little room for doubt that she had the reputation as being “that woman”. I don’t doubt they knew she was “the one with the bleeding disorder”. That very woman had to plow through that crowd of people who knew her and what she was doing to them, risking her very life, to touch His garment’s hem. That’s how I know she was desperate.  This was a suicide mission. If only she could touch the hem of His garment. Just the hem.

I’m sure she knew the likelihood of her being punished severely for her choice.  Her pain (desperation) outweighed that fear.  That’s desperation, when the pain becomes that unbearable that you would risk it all to no longer have the pain.  Jesus was her goal. Whatever the cost.

Here’s the story from Mark 5:24-34

So Jesus went with him (Jairus, whose daughter was dying), and a large crowd followed and pressed around Him. And a woman was there who had been afflicted for twelve years by an issue of bleeding. She had suffered greatly under the care of many physicians and had spent all she had, but to no avail. Instead, her condition had only grown worse.

When the woman heard about Jesus, she came up through the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she kept saying, “If I only touch His clothes, I will be healed.” At that instant, her bleeding stopped, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

At once Jesus was aware that power had gone out from Him. Turning to the crowd, He asked, “Who touched My clothes?”

His disciples answered, “You can see the crowd pressing in on You, and yet You ask, ‘Who touched Me?’

But He kept looking around to see who had done this. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him trembling in fear, and she told Him the whole truth.

Daughter,” said Jesus, your faith has healed you; go in peace and be free of your affliction.”

He was aware, and He wanted to see her. He felt her healing take place. She felt her healing take place. Her goal had been accomplished.  She had touched His hem. She had been healed, but He wanted to give her {more}. This terrified, desperate, unclean, weak, lonely and just healed woman was being called out to the open. She had done what she did still shrouded in a veil of secrecy, coming from behind Him to touch His garment.  She didn’t confront Him like Jairus, trying to desperately help his daughter; she dug through a crowd and touched His hem, hoping to go unnoticed, hoping to just be healed of this horrible illness.  BUT JESUS had so much {more} to offer her.  She confessed and believed, and Jesus offered her complete healing.  He announced to this very crowd – her would be prosecutors and executioners – that she was healed, she was no longer unclean.  He offered her peace and freedom.  He called her daughter. I know this is far {more} than this woman could have dreamed of ever happening.  She was called His daughter. She was healed. Her reputation was cleared.  She was given peace.  She was given freedom.  This woman experienced complete sozo healing.

That’s what He offers. I see so often that our prayers ask for just this, or maybe Lord, if you could just do that, putting Him in that box, limiting our thoughts of His capability… but we have Jesus who can do immeasurably MORE than we can ask or imagine! (That’s Ephesians 3:20-21 paraphrased.) Have faith, my dear friends.  Have faith that He can do what you want and so much more than you can even imagine.  You don’t have to hide in it.  You don’t have to be afraid.  He wants to free you of your desperation completely.

Let Him. Just touch His hem.



One thought on “Desperation

  1. Pingback: Do you want to be made well? | Waiting on the Next Step…

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