God wants to use my experiences to Minister to Others – Moving Beyond Casual Encounters with Jesus
“A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ “
32But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Mark 5:24-24 NIV
Why did He do it? Why did Jesus have to embarrass this poor woman who came and touched the hem of His garment in order to be healed? He asked, “Who touched my clothes?” Come on! He is God after all. Didn’t He already know who touched Him? If He did, what purpose did it serve to call out this poor woman in front of the crowd and embarrass her? It just doesn’t seem right. She had just been through years of illness, living a life that was considered “unclean” by her people, had endured numerous doctors, was losing her money, and now she had to come before a crowd to acknowledge that she touched Jesus? Couldn’t He just have healed her and let her be free without embarrassing her? Of course He could have! What was the purpose then?
First I think He called her forward so others would see and know her testimony. If Jesus never said anything about the woman’s healing (which He easily could have), no one would have known the difference between “bumping into” God, and “touching” Him. No one would know, including me.
I think He called her forward because He didn’t want her to simply find a cure to her illness. He also wanted her also to experience God. He wanted to bless her in a special way and to by helping her to find a Father she could trust and He also wanted to help others by allowing her to be a testimony of God’s power and goodness to them as well.
In the midst of this turmoil and embarrassment, there is another blessing to be seen. There is no one else in the scriptures that Jesus referred to as “daughter”. That shows me that when Jesus calls His people forward, not only does He want to use my experiences as a testimony to others, but it is also because He has something special in store for me.
I like what Pastor Rick Warren says about how God wants to use our experiences in life:
“I like chocolate chip cookies. I like them so much I know how to make them. I don’t even need a recipe. But if I eat the individual ingredients, they taste like turtle spit! Ever eat a little shortening? Don’t try it. Raw egg? Bad. Salt and sugar by itself? Yuck. Baking soda? Not good. Chocolate chips? Now that’s good. One out of six isn’t bad. Somehow when you mix five bad things with one good thing and stir them up together, it tastes so good that you eat half the dough before you make the cookies.
That’s what God wants to do with your experiences. He wants to take bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, good and turn you into Mrs. Fields! He’s a pro at it. God does not want you to waste your experiences. He wants to use them to make you a more effective minister.”
Jesus called the woman forward to let her know that it was not His clothing that healed her, nor was it her superstition. Doctors did not heal her nor did the latest nutrition studies. It was her faith in Him that healed her. If He did not clarify it, she may have thought that His clothing was somehow magical or mystical.
He also called this woman forth to show her that she did not “steal” a blessing from God, but rather “received” one from Him.
Jesus used the woman’s experience to minister to others. God comforts, helps, and strengthens when I am experiencing problems, so that I can comfort, help, and strengthen others when they go through the same things. God helped the woman who was bleeding, so she could help others. God helps me, so I can help others too. He wants me to use every experience I’ve gone through to help somebody else.
Who can better help somebody going through cancer than somebody who’s been through cancer? Who can help somebody dealing with an addiction than somebody who’s been through the addiction before? Who can better help parents who had a kid who went off the deep end, than somebody whose son or daughter went off the deep end? Who could walk a couple through their marriage challenges better than someone who has had to walk through those same challenges themselves?
God never wastes a hurt. He wants to use them to minister to other people. What I’m most embarrassed about, what I most regret most, God wants to use to help others. If I am open and honest about pain and challenges in my life, it can become my greatest ministry. Rick Warren also says, “You always help people more through your weaknesses than your strengths.” I agree.
Jesus may ask me to do things that seem embarrassing today. He may require me to step out in faith in uncomfortable and challenging ways. He doesn’t want us to do them just because He wants to embarrass us. There is a much higher purpose even if we can’t see it. If avoiding embarrassment is the most important thing in my life, then pride is my god. We are more in love with ourselves and with our self-image than we are in love with Jesus.
Lord You call me out of my comfort zone in order that You may use my experiences as a testimony for others. You want to use my experiences to minister to others to show them Your faithfulness and goodness in my life. Use me Lord. Amen.