Enochlophobia: The Fear of Crowds

Rally To Restore Sanity
Overwhelmed!

Albert Einstein once said, “I hate crowds and making speeches“.  There’s a common feeling with Mr. Einsteins called “enochlophobia”–the fear of crowds. Those who suffer with this anxiety go out of their way to avoid places such as malls, theaters, or any event that crowds would regularly attend; no matter who  the center and focus of attention for the throng.   Many times in my experiences, I too had anxiety in a crowd.  Maybe NOT fear, but felt hemmed in; crowded and nervous about being so close.  All the touching became too much.  I didn’t need a REASON.

A few things will happen when FEAR arises in a crowded area:

*  Being trampled to death.

*  Contracting a deadly virus.

*  Getting lost in a massive crowd of people.

*  They themselves feel small and insignificant when surrounded by so many people.

BUT, there is definitely a CHOICE that can made in overcoming standing out in the crowd.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING “HEMMED IN”  AND TOUCHING JESUS:

Immanuel – God with Us (Isaiah 7:14)

The writer of The Letter To The Hebrews in the Bible had this to say about ImmanuelGod with us:

“For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning”  (Hebrews 4:15 AMP).

*  No longer was he a God that was way up in the heavens somewhere.

*  No longer was he a God that was impersonal.

*  No longer was he a God that was distant.

*  No longer was he a God that couldn’t be touched.

Have you witnessed up close how a newborn baby’s hands reach out in eagerness to touch their mom or dad when they come near?

My wife and I just became great grandparents for the first time this past summer.  It was Deja vu— seeing Jaxon for the first time and remembering when our children were babes.  Smiling, reaching out in need for a touch!

Anticipating A Touch
Anticipating A Touch  when becoming great grandparents for the first time.  So it was Deja vu moment from our own children when they were babes.

But on a day in Bethlehem, JESUS burst on the scene in a manger, longing for and crying out for somebody to TOUCH HIM!  I have GOOD NEWS for you today.  In fact, He is here right now!

The devil thought he had killed Him, but the fact is…

I feel Him in my hands…

I feel Him in my feet…

I feel Him in my Soul..

I feel Him all over my life.

GOD IS NOT DEAD, HE IS ALIVE AND WELL!

Right now where you are sitting as you read my thoughts, He wants for someone to reach out and TOUCH HIM in faith.  He is as close as the mention of His name–JESUS.

He is still able to…

*  Heal your body.

*  Mend your broken heart.

*  Fix your messed up life.

*  Put your marriage back together.

*  Save your children.

*  Work on your behalf.

*  Make the impossible situation where you might find yourself…POSSIBLE!

He can do it if you TOUCH HIM where you are today.  Unless, you are intimidated by crowds.  “What will other think if I step out in faith?”  They might even think I’m a religious fanatic.

BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “THRONGING” AND “TOUCHING”

Thronging means:  “A large group of people gathered or crowed closely together, a multitude; to PRESS IN ON.”  ~ Online Dictionary.

The Bible tells us a story about a man who we refer to as, “rich young ruler”:

Mark 10:17-22:

[17]  And when He was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him,  Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?  [18] And Jesus said unto Him,  Why callest thou Me good?  There is none good but one, that is, God.  [19] Thou knowest the commandments,  Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.  [20] And he answered and said unto Him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.  [21] Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him,  One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  [22] And he was sad  at that saying, and went away grieved; for he had great possessions.  (King James Bible)

Let’s ‘zero in’ on this story and see if this young man TOUCHED JESUS, or just crowded or “thronged” around Him:

The FIRST THING I noticed about this man, was he was…DISSATISFIED – vs. 17-20:

*  HE CAME RUNNING.

*  HE KEPT THE LAW…BUT WAS NOT HAPPY.

*  SOMETHING WAS STILL MISSING.

(So many people I run into are unhappy with the way things are turning out or not turning out in their lives.)

The SECOND THING I noticed about this young man is…DISAPPOINTED – VS. 21-22:

*  The TERMS WERE DISAPPOINTING in his HEARING.

*  “GO AND SELL”.

*  COMMITMENT TO FOLLOW.

*  TRAGEDY.

*  SO CLOSE TO JESUS and yet…

*  WENT AWAY SORROWFUL WITHOUT TOUCHING.

The THIRD THING I noticed was DENIAL:

*  In the present – Life of joy and peace.

*  Future – Eternal life; a life in Heaven.

This is a man who never really touched Jesus.  Maybe shook His hand, patted Him on the shoulder, but never really TOUCHED JESUS; never took the time to have a relationship with JESUS.  (Many people know how to play in church but never TOUCH JESUS because of their relationship.)

THE TEXT today is from MARK 5:24-34 ~ NIV…  “A Woman in the Crowd”:

[24] A large crowd followed and pressed around Him.  [25] And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  [26] She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  [27] When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak,  [28] because she thought,  “If I just TOUCH His clothes,” I will be healed.”  [29] Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”  [30] At once Jesus realized that POWER had gone out from Him.  He turned around in the crowd and asked,  “Who TOUCHED Me?”  [32] But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.  [33] Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth.  [34] He said to her,  “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” 

This Bible story tells us about a woman with the issue of blood:

Distressed – vs. 25-26

12 years of suffering, sickness, pain, discomfort.  Not all of her problems were according to the religious Laws of her day.

A woman with her sickness:

–  Sexually – she could not touch her husband.

–  Maternally – no longer could bear children.

– Domestically – anything she touched was considered unclean and she couldn’t take care of her family.

– Socially – considered unclean.

– Spiritually – was not allowed in the temple [church].

She was physically exhausted and socially ostracized.  She tried many different doctors without her desired results.  The Talmud gives 11 different cures for her condition and one of them was carrying the ashes of an Ostrich Egg in a linen cloth.

She was broke–spent all she had and she was getting worse!

Determined – vs. 27-28

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You Must Reach Out and Touch

The news had spread from all around of Jesus’ healing, casting out demons across the Lake of Galilee and here He was…in Person, getting out of a boat, on not any beach, but on this beach–her beach.

Even the local pastor was the first to greet Jesus after He set His feet on the warm sand.  His name was Jairus, whose little daughter was at the point of death.  And as Jesus went to go with the father, “a great crowd kept following…pressing Him from all sides [so as almost to suffocate Him]”  (Amplified Bible).  EVERYONE gathered…WANTED TO SEE JESUS!

A DECISION HAD TO BE MADE:

*  It was therefore obvious, the woman heard about Jesus.

*  If He could do it for them, He could certainly do it for me.

*  She had Heart FAITH.

*  Went to where He was.

*  I’m not going to WAIT for Jesus to come to me, but I’m going to TOUCH HIM, crowd or no crowd!

*  She TOUCHED Him!

Psychiatrists sometimes say, that if a person is diagnosed with Enochlophobia [women are said to outnumber men considerably in being diagnosed], all that is needed when in a throng is,,,a CALMING TOUCH by someone close to relieve the anxiety.

Did this woman, diseased with a ‘blood disorder’, have Enochlophobia?  I don’t know, but she was definitely DETERMINED to TOUCH JESUS, regardless of her condition or what others might think or do to her.

STAND –  She Was Delivered!  In the Midst of a Crowd!

This woman who TOUCHED Jesus’ garment; the fringe on His Tallit or prayer shawl; wherever the TOUCH was instantly and completely healed.  God recognized a simple TOUCH OF FAITH  among many people who were in the crowd that day.  They too probably had personal needs they wanted met just like this lady but didn’t want to chance what their neighbors might think if they did.

What was the difference?  She was delivered because she had TOUCHED Jesus.  Her fears of being in a CROWD (reasons already stated) had disappeared.  Not because of her close proximity to the Master, but because of her up close and personal TOUCH.

The Difference Between Being in a Congregation or Church Assembly…and Simply TOUCHING Jesus.

FAITH ALWAYS TOUCHES JESUS–

He knows the difference between bumping against someone in a crowded room and a TOUCH OF FAITH of a soul in need.  BUT you have to TOUCH Him first.  He is here where you and I are right now, but it is our job to reach out and TOUCH HIM.

JESUS was on His way to an important man’s house.  What are the odds that Jesus is ever going to stop by and touch this lady in fear–not very good. But she…but she touched Him.  Rank had no importance to Jesus when it came to a personal trust of faith in Him.  As you read on further in the chapter, Jesus didn’t forget the need of Jarius and his daughter.  But in the right now…this woman became the example because of a TOUCH.

In the Right Now!

JESUS is here right where you are sitting.  Doesn’t matter what your condition is:  no matter your fears, no matter what people might think when you step out from where you have been in life.

Need healing in your body?

Need healing in your spirit?

What is your NEED?  The sharing of that NEED in a crowd, taking a STAND, stepping out in FAITH… might bring you FEAR!  All you need is a gentle touch of faith where you are and any phobia will melt away.

YOU CAN STRETCH FORTH YOUR HAND AND TOUCH HIM.  A TOUCH OF FAITH!

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A “CAVEMAN’S” TESTIMONY!

Biblical Cavemen

THERE IS HOPE FOR CAVEMEN:

Our Bible tells us quite a bit about CAVEMEN; and  by simple definition, it is a person who lives in a CAVE.  The PURPOSE of this study is not an attack on the cavemen and dinosaur theories but to show from the Scripture… there’s always HOPE when in it comes to living and being like a CAVEMEN.

HOPE Needs to be Demonstrated.

Crystal Cave, Sequoia

I can remember my first cave experience when I was about 10 years old.  My folks often invited my grandparents (my mom’s parents) along with us when we would go on vacations every year.  If my granddad had his way, he would just putter around the old farmstead during the summer months, complaining that it was a waste of money to go on vacations; there was better uses.  But with a little coaxing, he would reluctantly go.  Honestly, I think he really enjoyed the family trips and…the coaxing, the ‘please come granddad’.  It just wouldn’t be a vacation without granddad and grandma!

One particular year, mom and dad wanted to go on a camping trip to Sequoia National Park located in California.  Before we arrived at the campsite, dad notice a well-marked sign that read:  CRYSTAL CAVES.  We had to stop, and of course grandad had to make is usual observation as we pulled into the visitor’s parking lot: “Here is another Chamber of Commerce trick to get your money.”  And dad’s response, “Are you coming dad (granddad) or not?”

Grandma stayed behind with my baby brother (7 years younger) while the rest of us, including granddad, headed one mile on foot…straight down into a canyon.  We all gathered together at the cave’s entrance and waited for the park ranger to guide us through the caves.  Stalactites (lime deposits formed at the caves ceilings–‘tight’ to the ceiling; and Stalagmites (lime deposits on the cave’s floor–they ‘might’ get to the ceiling).  It was damp and cold, yet beautiful as the man-located lighting positioned in the cave shone all about the cave.  Everyone in the family thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in this vast cavern including…granddad!

CAVES ARE A DARK PLACE!

Many caves that are explored for the first time are dark and full of shadows.  Inhabited by bats, roaches, lizards and other vermin.  In my daily Bible reading in The Book of Isaiah, I ran across this verse launching my new investigation on A “CAVEMAN’S” TESTIMONY! 

Then shall [the stricken, deprived of all in which they had trusted] go into the caves of the rocks, and into the holes of the earth…In that day men shall cast away to the moles and to the bats… To go into the caverns of the rocks and into the clefts of the ragged rocks before the terror and dread of the Lord…  (Isaiah 2:19-21 AMP).

No One Should Have to Live in a CAVE!

But for a CAVEMAN, this dreary existence represents his final refuge to a hostile world.  While CAVES make wonderful places to explore on an adventurous vacation, it becomes a sad depressing refuge from trouble for some—not a luxury resort but a ‘last resort’.

At some time or another, most of us want to crawl into a hole and pull it in after us.  Our troubles get so overwhelming we yearn to withdraw from  human society and go hide in a CAVE.

Of course, few of us actually do this but occasionally Scripture relates the real story of REAL CAVEMEN–a man who hides in caves, escaping some horrible circumstance to the outside world.

A BIBLE STORY OF DAVID:

SO DAVID departed and escaped to the CAVE of ADULLAM:”  (1 Samuel 22:1 a).

DAVID has now left the land of the Philistines and returned to his native area of Judah.  The location of this CAVE has been disputed by scholars.  It may very well have been one of the desert hideouts not far from Bethlehem which David was familiar with during his days as a lonely shepherd boy.

You can see in the picture above how rough and rocky that region is and it made for a good hideout.  But this is certainly the lowest moment of David’s life to date in the Bible.

He is hiding in a CAVE–all alone at the moment, without security, without food.  He is away from everything and everyone he loved–everyone except GOD!

If we really want to know and understand how David really felt, all we have to do is read the Psalms he composed during this period.

A Prayer In a CAVE:

I cry to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord do I make supplication.  I pour out my complaint before Him; I tell before Him my trouble.  When my spirit was over-whelmed and fainted [throwing all its weight] upon me, then You knew my path.  In the way where I walk they have hidden a snare for me.  Look on the right hand [the point of attack] and see; for there is no man who knows me [to appear for me].  Refuge has failed me and I have no way to flee; no man cares for my life or my welfare.  I cried to You, O Lord; I said, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.  Attend to my loud cry, for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I.  Bring my life out of prison, that I may confess, praise, and give thanks to Your name; the righteous will surround me and crown themselves because of me, for You will deal bountifully with me”  (Psalm 142 AMP).

That is how David felt as a CAVE DWELLER!

“I don’t know of a soul on earth who cares for my soul.  I am brought very low.  Deliver me, Lord.”  Can you feel the darkness and dampness of that CAVE?  Can you feel David’s hopelessness in his thoughts, his words?

Yet in the MIDST of the DARKNESS, David has not lost sight of his GOD.

He cries out to the Lord for deliverance, so that he might praise the Lord and be a leader of the righteous.  It’s this part of David that GOD knew; it caused GOD to choose him and call him a man after His own heart.

David has been brought to this place where GOD can truly begin to shape him and use him; use him to His glory.  When GOD brings us to the bottom of a CAVE, a place that seems hopeless, it’s not to destroy us but to rebuild us.  Sort of like ‘Stalagmites” on a cave’s floor; stretching and building, reaching for the heights.

DEPRESSING CIRCUMSTANCES:

TROUBLE brought frustration to David’s personal plans and ambitions.  We’ve all been there: unemployment, financial binds, broken relationships, our illnesses and the illnesses of those close to us in the family.

David was experiencing the same emotions:  Michal–the same wife who’d helped him escape–separated and re-married another man.  Where David was once, a young man climbing the social ladder of success in the king’s court.  Now…his prospects were nil!

No wonder his PSALM FROM A CAVE contained distressing words, “I cry to the Lord…I pour out my complaints…my supplications…Bring my life out of prison…”

Uncertain Thoughts Visit This Caveman.

David wonders, what did I do wrong?  Where did I miss God’s will?  I tried to be a good guy but look where it got me!  No man wants to know me.  I’m ABANDONED, BETRAYED, DESERTED, ALONE, and NO MAN CARES!

PSALM 142 reminds me of an old nursery rhyme my mother would recite to me (or a variation), when my lip would curl because of my feelings of rejection by my playmates:

Nobody loves me

Everybody hates me

I think I’ll go out in the garden

and eat worms!

The nursery rhyme was shortened over the years to…”Just go outside and eat worms!”

In Times of DEPRESSION:

We can all identify with David’s words from a CAVE.  AND, we too can honestly complain to our Heavenly Father; tell Him where it hurts, how we feel about the way things are going.

SULKING in our personal CAVES, we are tempted to self-pity and lethargy.  We stare at all the shadows on the wall.  We listen to our own glum thoughts, while the bats, spiders and lizards dart back and forth in our imaginations.  We feel worthless, alone, deserted and lost and we can certainly empathize with David’s circumstances.

David did feel overwhelmed in his CAVE.  Yet his Psalm, although it details the symptoms of DEPRESSION, reveals a ray of Son-shine, of HOPE while he was a CAVEMAN:

“When my spirit was overwhelmed and fainted [throwing all its weight] upon me, then You knew my path”!

When your spirit is overwhelmed in a CAVE of DEPRESSION, then the Lord Jesus knows where you are and how you feel.  He knows what its like to be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

JESUS knows what a CAVE looks like from the inside out; He was buried in one!  He was tortured to death for us; He was crucified dead and buried because of His LOVE for us.

When your spirit is overwhelmed, crushed within you, THEN Jesus knows where you are and how you feel   He also knows how you entered the CAVE.

Some Paths Leading Into CAVES:

JESUS knows the path that led you into this particular CAVE that you have found yourself in.  He came into our world in a human body and understands physical limitations.

NATURAL CIRCUMSTANCES can lead into a CAVE of DEPRESSION.

Shortly before Adoniram Judson (Baptist missionary to Burma) started meditating daily before his open grave, his dearly-loved wife had died.  JESUS understands circumstances that can make you weep–He did.

Sometimes we fall into this CAVE of DEPRESSION with no reason apparent to us.  Something triggers a response to an incident that happened so long ago, you’ve forgotten what it was; but your emotions still react with vague and unreasonable responses, leading your life into the dark cave of depression.  What a bummer!  You’re DEPRESSED and you don’t know why.  But even if you don’t know the PATH leading you into the CAVE…JESUS does, so trust Him.  “For if our heart condemns us, God is GREATER than our heart, and knows all things.”

Graham Cooke says, God strengthens us with His presence in our low places.  He does not give us strength.  He becomes our strength.”

What Happens Next In The CAVE?

GOD has a definite purpose for CAVEMEN!  All the circumstances of your life in the past has prepared you to be God’s person in this CAVE–and the CAVE EXPERIENCE prepares you to be His man/woman in the future.

“So David departed and escaped to the CAVE…and when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him”  (1 Sam. 22:1).

GOD used David’s cave-dwelling experience in affecting his reconciliation with his family.  The tensions between David and his brothers were HEALED in a CAVE!

You can let God use the depressing circumstances you are facing to heal the petty resentments and bad feelings that exist in your family.

“And everyone in distress or in debt or discontented gathered to him…”  (1 Sam. 22:2 a).

Because of David’s own experience, he had empathy with other depressed men–other CAVEMEN AND CAVEWOMEN.  They knew he understood their problems because for a time, he lived as a CAVEMAN too.

Many times in my work life over the years, I too found myself as a CAVE-DWELLER.  Over a 40-year career in the construction industry, I had been let go, laid off, and fired numerous times.  Sometimes the time was short, while other times I sunk into the deep cavern of depression.  And yes, I asked God…why me, why now?  And then one day, long after I had retired, He said,  ‘Mel, you need to use your experiences of unemployment, of struggling to fulfill your responsibilities as husband and father.  You can’t do it by yourself!’

Once before, a time of playing the harp, and now…

While playing the harp in king Saul’s Court, David had contacted successful, up-and-coming young men.  While he was in that DEPRESSING CAVE, he met another class of people–those in distress, in debt, and discontented…and it wasn’t just a few.  It was over 400 men!

GOD used these very people as the nucleus of the army that supported David, King of Israel.  All the time David was overwhelmed in the CAVE…God was working–drawing these distressed people to the man after His own heart.  God had promised David a crown and He used the DEPRESSING CAVE experience to bring His promise to pass.

“So, GOD Has Placed You In A CAVE…”

Your spirit right now is perhaps overwhelmed by your current circumstances.

Then JESUS KNOWS YOUR PATH!

…HE KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE!

…HE KNOWS HOW YOU GOT THERE!

AND HE KNOWS WHERE TO GO FROM HERE!

No matter how dark your CAVE seems to be:  How distressing your circumstances; how depressed you might feel; how bleak the outlook seems…JESUS KNOWS and UNDERSTANDS.

HE CARES,

HIS HAND IS UPON YOUR SHOULDER,

HE HAS NOT ABANDONED YOU,

HE OFFERS HOPE–even for a CAVEMAN!