If the rest of you are like me, you respond in like manner at those disciples when they reply to His question with clear condescension: You are in a crowd of people and yet You ask "Who touched me?"

I think to myself that those disciples weren't exactly the sharpest tools in the Master's shed.

And with that condescension of my own comes a perception of that whole crowd--I see them a bit negatively. Even though they formed a tight circle around the one person I would join a circle around too, even though they pressed in to the same man I claim to press toward, even though--well, those disciples make it hard to like the crowd. We opt instead for the woman with the issue. The one whose touch felt different.

I've been part of the crowd recently. I follow them. They follow me. We all run circles around the real One we want to see. We do ministry. We are ministry. We lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. We run in packs, rubbing shoulders with the people who are already in.

We even touch His robe once or twice, or at least touch someone who's touched His robe.

But He's not stopping the crowd for us. He's not questioning His disciples for us. He didn't feel the power leave Him when our hurried pressing met his woolen dressing.

That was reserved for the one who pressed through all of us just to get to Him.

I find myself making a list of all the things I've crowded around recently, my plethora of ministry opportunities and familial commitments, my right hand service and my left hand giving, my relationships and my quiet times. And I find that the face of Jesus has been crowded out.

Even though I'm pressed in tight, against Him, His people, and His direction, I've lost my focus--and He knows my touch is only pedestrian. Not desperate.

Not like hers.

I've joined the ranks of the disciples and forgotten the deeper issues, the ones that don't go away until I get more serious about seeing and touching Him than running with the crowds around Him.

December 2007