Have a look at this short video and think about how these stories link to your own Group, Camp or church:
In this story, we meet a woman who has had an extremely tough time for 12 years. She struggled with a condition that caused her to bleed, and despite the efforts of “many doctors” (one can only imagine…) her condition was worse than ever. Because of the nature of her condition, she would have been an outcast, considered ritually ‘unclean’, she would have been lonely and the Gospel writer tells us that she was broke.
But even in the desperate position that she was in, there lives in her a determination to keep trying, she hasn’t completely given up. She hears about Jesus and has faith that if she can just touch his cloak, that will be enough to heal her. She doesn’t think that someone like her could actually ask Jesus for help, but she recognises his power. She follows him and takes her chance, touching his robe and immediately is healed.
Then follows the farcical exchange between Jesus and the disciples where Jesus is asking who in the crowd has touched him and the disciples, not realising what has happened, incredulously say “everyone!”. But Jesus knows something significant has happened, something unplanned and unexpected, and power has left him. He knows someone’s touch was one of faith and he wants to know who it was.
Jesus was on his way to bring life back to the daughter of Jairus, a synagogue leader, an important man, but Jesus stopped to engage with an outcast, someone from the complete opposite end of the social order.
Can you imagine how the woman was feeling? Having been rejected for 12 years and finally feeling whole again, she is being sought out by the one who healed her. What would he do? Would he take the healing away? What kind of trouble would she be in? It took immense courage for her to come forward and admit what she had done; extraordinary bravery to tell her story and to declare in front of everyone what had happened.
But Jesus knew what he was doing. If she had just crept away, would anyone have believed her if she said that she was well now? After 12 years, would she have been accepted back into the family, into society? By calling her out and making her publicly tell her story Jesus didn’t just heal her physically, he restored her in every way. And he gave her all the time in the world to tell her story, she had his full attention.
Jesus, the teacher, called her “Daughter”; she was publicly declared not just to be ritually clean again, but accepted fully, she was called daughter by God’s son! Instead of Jesus telling her not to tell anyone what he had done, he was declaring it to the whole world so that everyone knew that she was restored in body, mind and soul.
So, what does this amazing story say to us? How does the woman’s story have relevance to children and young people with additional needs? What does it teach us about how Jesus connects with them?
Well, first of all this story tells us that no matter how challenging their situation is, no matter how difficult things are for these children and young people, for their families, they are never out of his reach. If they, in faith, seek him he is there for them, he is interested in them, he wants to know them.
He is not in a hurry, he gives them time, and he gives them his full attention. Nothing is as important to Jesus as that moment that he is connecting with them. He wants to hear their whole story. Whether that moment involves them being cured physically or not is not promised, or in many cases needed, but what Jesus does is to bring healing to their souls, to their very being, restoring them to him, calling them “daughter” calling them “son”.
Whatever their story, whatever their journey through life has been to this point, let’s help all children and young people with additional needs to reach out and touch Jesus in faith, and let him minister to them, to connect with them, to bring them into the heart of his ministry, to welcome them into his family…
Sit and reflect on this story for a moment in silence and listen to what God might be saying to you about it.
Is God saying anything to you about the Additional Needs Ministry?
Thank God that in 2022, we are on course to train approaching 2,000 people through training events and conferences. On average each person trained supports two children/young people with additional needs, so that’s approaching 4,000 more children and young people included and supported this year.
Thank God for opportunities to write and create video content, which by the end of 2022 will have reached approaching 100,000 people both in the UK and around the world.
Thank God for the new ‘All Inclusive?’ training resources we’ve released, ‘How to Include Autistic Children and Young People in Church’ and ‘Invited to Belong’.
For more information about the work that the Additional Needs Ministry has been doing this year so far, plus our plans for the rest of the year, and how you can help, please click below: