“Who touched me?” Jesus asks in this account of multiple healings.
So often we imagine Jesus as this holy know-it-all, who is full of God-like omniscience. Yet the Scripture and Christian tradition continues attest Jesus is as the old hymn says “God as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel”. Jesus is fully human, and being human this side of the veil means being limited. It means not knowing all the answers, not having it all figured out. It means questioning, doubting. It means becoming tired and frustrated.
So we see Jesus in a moment of uncertainty. He knows God has used His life to bless another. He felt God’s power surge through his body. And yet he does not know who He blessed, nor how. And yet bless them He did.
To me this is so encouraging. Sometimes I feel very uncertain. I am not sure what to do to answer the call of Christ around me. My own life can be topsy-turvy with the way uncertain. If I don’t know what to do for me, how can I be there for you? I can be full of fear, questions, with the way ahead unclear apparently and be right where I needed to be. This is one of many occasions in the Gospels where Jesus expresses not knowing and uncertainty.
Early Christians looked at this and said what God becomes, God heals. So God entering into our uncertainty, our not-knowing, our confusion, surprise, and fear shows us that these need not be just places where we are lost, unmoored, feeling cut off from God. They can also, as with Jesus, be right where God wants us to be. And we can walk away from these times of uncertainty looking back at countless people who we, like Jesus, blessed without knowing we were or even really realizing what we are doing.
The key is giving up the need to have things figured out. Sometimes we will say “I will start to do that next right thing when I have figured out my own life”. Though a part of that statement is worthwhile – not overcommitting yourself – there is a part that is unrealistic. The time is always ripe to do what is right. We never on this side of the veil ever fully arrive. If we wait to be a blessing until our lives are fully figured out we never will. For if Jesus, God made flesh, didn’t fully arrive nor always fully understood where his life was heading nor whom He was blessing, we won’t either.
But like Jesus we can choose to do the right thing, to be fully ourselves and fully engaged in the moment before us, even when we are uncertain and the way unclear. If we do this, we will find ourselves blessing people we would not expect, healing brokenness we didn’t know was there, and having people come up to us saying “you touched me” whom we never realized we did.
Let’s choose to be present even in the midst of uncertainty, embracing the moment before us and the people alongside us.
And I ain’t whisting Dixie,
Your progressive redneck preacher,