Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Do You Need a Touch from Jesus?

I'm sure this whole Ebola outbreak has been on your mind as much as it has been mine. We can't help but to think and talk about it all the time, because it's constantly on the news. The updates are always that it's spreading more and more people have died. I heard one health official make an attempt to minimize the outbreak, and perhaps minimize our fears, by comparing it to other deadly outbreaks in history. Like the Bubonic Plague pandemic in the 14th century that killed millions, possibly hundreds of millions. I suppose when you line this Ebola outbreak up side by side with The Black Death, as it was called, or even the Spanish Flu, or Cholera, it does seem minor by comparison. But even if Ebola has only killed thousands where others have killed millions, to the people who lost someone they love to the virus, it is the worst epidemic to ever hit the planet. Not to mention our heart pounds harder when we read about a killer virus in the newspaper as opposed to a history book.
A few days ago I read a story online about a 9 year old girl in Liberia who was standing in the street weeping (pic in comments). She had just lost her mother to Ebola, and no one would get close to comfort her because they feared she was infected. So she cried alone while even the people who love her kept their distance. That breaks my heart. I have two daughters, and I can't stand even just the thought of them crying alone without me or anyone else getting close enough to comfort them.
That makes me think of the story of Jesus healing the man with leprosy. Leprosy has been around for a long time; perhaps since near the beginning of time. It has claimed the lives of millions of people, and still today there are over 200,000 cases annually. It is contagious, and without treatment it leads to death. In Jesus' time, lepers were cast out of society, ostracized by even the people who loved them. Most were sent to leper colonies. Those who lived anywhere near others, they were often made to wear a bell around their necks so people would hear them coming and get out of the way. Can you imagine what it would be like to suffer something so bad for so long and no one would come close enough to comfort you? Jesus could. That's why when approached by a man with leprosy, the burden of His heart overpowered the concern in His head, and He reached out and touched the man when no one else would (Matthew 8:1-4).
Do you ever feel alone and rejected? Ever feel like your issues are so messy no one wants to get close? Or maybe you feel like what you've got going on is so complicated, you know people would give you that look if you told them? you just keep it to yourself. And you suffer...alone. Well I hope that you and that 9 year old Liberian girl will know that you never have to suffer alone. Just call on Jesus and you will see that He will never hesitate to approach you and whatever kind of stuff you have going on in your life. Jesus experienced loneliness and rejection so that we don't have to. If you really open up your faith and believe, then you will feel His hug though you can't see His arms.
And while you're praying, let's pray about this Ebola outbreak. While we wait for them to get a handle on its spread, while we wait for a cure, while that little girl waits for a hug, let's give it to over to Jesus who can fix anything.
Now go and hug somebody today. They probably really need one!

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