Long before I was old enough to drive a car, I drove our family’s snowmobile, a decent Skidoo with ample speed and a seat that fit two. I loved the freedom, the speed, and the feeling of trust that came as my dad handed me the key. I even loved the smell of gasoline as I squeezed the throttle and heard the responding roar of the engine. Driving the Skidoo was one of the few benefits of the long winters we endured in rural Newfoundland. As much as I loved school (yes, I was one of those…), on afternoons when it was my turn to have the snowmobile, I couldn’t wait to hear that final bell.
On one such day when I was in the eighth grade, I rushed home and suited up with the appropriate riding gear: snowsuit, warm woolen socks inside winter boots, mittens that had a good grip, and a heavy helmet; just in case. I left our backyard and joined one of the trails which snaked through the trees, leading eventually to the more open spaces, where I would fly over ponds and feel that thrill of speed.
With my ears tucked inside the heavy helmet, I couldn’t hear much over the engine’s noise. It was important to be alert, depending solely on my sight for noticing other drivers on the trail. On the winding one-way track through the trees, this was especially important.
I hadn’t gone far from home that day when I zipped around a sharp turn to come face-to-face with another driver. His snowmobile was bigger and fancier than mine, and in my memory, he drove it like he owned the trail and would run over anything in his path. Skidoos are hard to run over, however, so when he rounded that corner, it wasn’t OVER he went, but THROUGH. His wide skis pierced my bonnet like a hot knife through butter. While I was unharmed, my stomach felt like that block of butter as I looked in horror at the front of our machines, which were now joined together, each engine still running, waiting to be directed. Shards of thick plastic littered the snow on the side of the track. I stared at them in horror before registering the angry words flowing out of the other rider’s helmet. He clearly felt I was at fault. The only fault, however, was in the timing. Leaving my house a few seconds earlier or later, squeezing the throttle a millimeter more or less, these were the only ways this collision could have been avoided. It was a blind turn, on a single track, with two machines going in opposite directions. The crash was inevitable.
Lucky for me, the other driver’s snowmobile had the capability of driving in reverse. When I needed to turn my Skidoo around, I had to get off and lift the back end in the necessary arc. With a flick of a button and a loud roar, he smoothly detached our machines by withdrawing his skis from my hood, causing more broken pieces to fall next to the path, each black fragment standing out in stark contrast on the white snow. Unlike a car crash, there was no exchange of names or insurance information. The man inspected the front of his snowmobile with mutters and curses, used that nifty reverse option to turn his machine around, and zipped away in the direction he had come from. He left thirteen-year-old me and my rapidly pounding heart standing next to my broken Skidoo.
I picked up all the pieces from the ground and threw them in the storage compartment under the seat. Afraid of staying in such a vulnerable parking spot for long, I lifted and dragged the back end until the machine was facing the way home and motored back, my speed reduced and my spirit broken.
My dad took it all in stride. When you trust a teenager with your snowmobile, you can’t be upset if she has an accident. Repairs to the bonnet were needed, but the damage was cosmetic; the motor still ran okay, and nothing else seemed to be affected.
In fact, my younger brother still took his turn after school the following day. After all, while it didn’t look pretty, the thrill of the ride hadn’t changed. I can’t remember, but can imagine, the look on Dad’s face when his son returned home to admit that he bumped into a telephone pole!
“At least the thing I ran into was moving!” I exclaimed.
The Skidoo’s adventures that week ended two days later when my dad, himself, went through the ice, and the crippled machine ended up in the river. Some weeks are like that.
Bumping into things is rarely ever on purpose or desirable. It’s not difficult to imagine that Jesus was likely bumped and jostled as He taught huge groups of people and made His way through the crowds. Like any celebrity, though, fans may have actually TRIED bumping into Him, desiring to touch the Messiah or His clothing, no matter how brief the contact.
For one such woman, touching Jesus was her last hope. An outcast for twelve long years, she’d almost forgotten what it felt like to touch someone. This poor woman was considered unclean, her uterus sending out a steady flow of blood for all that time. Ask any woman who’s had a period lasting more than seven days how fun that is! After spending her last penny on doctors and healers, she left her home that day, defying the ‘unclean’ restrictions that confined her there indefinitely, and set her feet on a path that led to Jesus. Many of her neighbors had seen His miracles and recounted the stories excitedly just outside her door. Did she dare hope? Was the slim chance of healing worth the shame and reproach she’d face by joining the crowd? Considering that tampons weren’t introduced for another 1900 years, I can understand the risk she took.
When she reached the throng of people vying to see the Messiah for themselves, her hope must have grown dim. They were two people in a crowd. How would she ever get His attention? But it wasn’t His attention she wanted. She just needed to touch Him. If this man was the Great Healer that everyone talked about, maybe reaching out her hand in faith—just a tiny, unnoticeable contact, was all that was required.
People likely bumped Jesus here and there: an elbow to the side—“Oops, sorry!” A toe stomped—”Oh, pardon me!” But bumping into Jesus didn’t heal anyone that we know of. This woman touched Him on purpose, believing that this act would heal her. Her FAITH in Jesus’ power to heal was necessary for results, not just the touch.
The happy ending to this story is that the woman was healed instantly with the act of reaching for the Healer, demonstrating her belief in God’s Son. And Jesus knew the instant it happened that the touch He felt was not an accidental bump. He didn’t let her slip quietly away without testifying of His healing power. When she verbally acknowledged what she had done and its miraculous outcome, Jesus touched her heart as well, saying:
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”Luke 8:48
We can bump into Jesus by casually reading the Bible or going to church, whether online or in person. But, unless we reach out in faith and activate our spirituality, we will not see results, whether we look for healing or for Jesus to meet other needs. Calling ourselves Christians without real relationships with Him just won’t work. He desires our whole hearts, our trust, and our submission.
Reach out and touch Jesus with PURPOSE. Grab onto His robe and don’t let go until He looks at you and calls you Daughter (or Son). Accept His healing and His peace. That takes FAITH.
Do you have a relationship with Jesus or do you bump into Him occasionally when you have a need? God doesn’t dole out miracles like a fairy godmother. He wants to be your Father—your highest priority.
It’s often in our busiest seasons of life that we realize we’ve pushed Him off that place of honor. The good news is that He forgives us of our neglect if we ask Him. He will restore our communion and welcome us back into His arms. What a loving God He is!
Spend some time with Him today, and work on making that relationship your number one priority. He waits for you to invite Him in.
Lord, I want more than a shallow relationship with You. I intentionally reach out in faith and receive all that You have for me.
Thank You for Your gift of salvation and Your promises to me as Your child. Every good and perfect thing comes from You.
I claim healing in Your name.
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One thought on “Bumping into Things”
Oh dear you are really bringing memories back…..😳😳. Nice writing…👍👍💕💕
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