God Alone Suffices
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
A woman, drawing her cloak closely around her, hurries to the edge of a crowd. There she pauses in hesitation. What if someone recognizes her? What if she can’t make it through to Him? What if this, too, fails, and she returns home unhealed? “It is my only recourse,” she thinks, then plunges in.
Who is this woman who, having only heard about Jesus, throws caution aside to draw near Him? She knows full well she is ritually unclean; she has probably avoided crowds for twelve years now. At the beginning there was hope—that the disease would heal on its own or doctors provide a cure. But now she has reached her limit—the end of her resources.
Limits. How hard it can be to feel them. Sometimes life’s circumstances seem to thrust us up against our limitations, perhaps despite all efforts to ignore or break through them, or at least take control of the world around us. This is uncomfortable, disconcerting, and…good for us. Yes, good, because here, where we cease to have control, is the opportunity to realize one’s “not-enoughness” and the “not-enoughness” of the world. Only once we know our own insufficiency can we look for fulfillment beyond ourselves and our surroundings.
* * *
The woman cannot see Jesus. Assiduously avoiding eye contact, she slips through the crowd. As she jostles and brushes against people, her tension rises. “I shouldn’t be here,” she thinks. Yet, something impels her to press on. Or could it be Someone: a Father Whose Heart is moved as He looks upon His suffering daughter?
At last, there He is. But Jesus is busy, accompanying the synagogue official to his house. And his daughter has been suffering too. “No,” she thinks, “I can’t interrupt Jesus now. …If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” She reaches out a trembling hand to touch the tassel of the garment used to cover His head while in prayer—when Jesus is in intimate dialogue with His Father—and is instantly healed. Faith, going beyond human resources, opens the way for God’s power to work in her.
It is possible that in realizing our limits we can become discouraged. There are situations like the spread of disease and social unrest that are beyond one’s own power to fix. We could give in to hopelessness. Or we can reach out to God. At one’s limit it is possible to discover God’s limitless sovereignty.
* * *
Jesus turns about in the crowd to look for this person whose faith has obtained healing through Him. He wants to lay eyes on her. She steps out of hiding, falls to her knees, and tells Him everything. Can you imagine His look of wonder and tenderness as she pours out her heart—this daughter of Israel, this beloved daughter of His Father, who has felt so stuck, but now has experienced mercy—a Love that is personal and compassionate, a Love that binds up wounds? Jesus praises her faith and sends her forth, healed and at peace.
When up against our own inability to fix things, we neither have to try to seize control nor give up. Instead, we can reach out in faith and prayer to the One Who holds all things in His creating Hands: the world, the course of history, each one of us with our joys and sufferings. With trustful surrender we can let Him work as He wills in us and with confidence in prayer entrust the world and those we love to His care. So our insufficiency can become a springboard to cast us into the arms of the Lord Who looks on us with tenderness, Who will provide, Who alone is enough.
“Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.” –St. Teresa of Avila
Sr. Cecilia Francis, CFR