Guest post by Grey Briggs in Tennessee
I had the privilege of being able to view the ocean from a seventh floor condo this week. The magnitude of the ocean, paired with the tiny figures skirting the edges of the vast expanse stuck out to me more than ever before.
“Why do we stay so close to the shore with that great ocean in front of us?” I questioned God. I wasn’t expecting an answer, but, He likes to surprise me sometimes.
“It’s like touching the hem of my garment,” I heard in a quiet whisper. Goosebumps rose across my arm on an 85 degree morning in Alabama, as I immediately remembered the woman who fought through the crowd and said, “If I can just touch the hem of his garment, I will be healed.” She searched Jesus out in a crowd, even though she was deemed unclean to be in public.
For twelve years, she suffered with rejection and isolation from her illness, but she knew, if she just touched His hem, that would be enough. The hem was traditionally adorned in blue tzitzits, or tassels, worn in four corners of the garment placed over the Isrealites, which reminded them of their covenant and promises of God.
The woman, whom we find out is named Veronica, had so much faith in who Jesus was, she knew His hem would be enough. And it was. She was healed. I think about what just the touch of His hem did for her and wonder what the magnitude of accepting more of Him would be like?
What if we are to pour bottles of priceless perfume all over His feet and wash them with our hair? What if we are supposed to give up everything and raise funds to support His ministry? What if we are supposed to lead battles into victory, or wait for Him at His tomb, and when we can’t find His body, we loudly proclaim His resurrection, even when no one else believes us?
The hem is enough, but what if we decide not to just stick our feet in, but wade in up to our waist, or fully submerge headfirst into His waves? Will it be easy? Most likely we would thrash about and be pulled from here to there. Salt and seaweed and sand in our hair. Sometimes even, we will get so far out, we won’t know how to get back to the shore again.
It’s all there for us–inviting us in, but we so often choose the shoreline. What does this fully-submerged life look like for us? For Deborah, it was a full-on battle, for Mary, it was breaking a perfume bottle; for Ruth, it was being faithful to her mother-in-law; for Esther, it was coming uninvited before the king.
I see the fully submerged life in my missionary friends in Peru. I see it in my former student who ministers to women at abortion clinics and saves lives. I see it in my friends who foster the unwanted child. I see it in the mom who gives up her career to raise her children under God’s provision.
I was afraid of the ocean this week for the first time. I went out with my children and must have gotten caught in a riptide because I could not get back. I tried everything. Finally, I realized I was tall enough to just put my feet down and push off the sand. That was enough to calm me down and get back to shore, but the rest of the trip, I watched with my feet barely in and missed out on a lot of fun I usually have in the ocean with my children.
I don’t want to do that with God–be afraid of the waves that could come with fully submerging. The hem is enough, but I want to be ready for more.
What about you? What do you want to ask God for? Do you want to touch the hem or his garment?
Do you want to be fully submerged?