Wednesday, July 2, 2008
A Bleeding Woman of Faith
I don't know about you, but I can be a doubter at times. If you tell me you bought a pair of Michael Antonio shoes on the sale rack for $4.99, have your receipt ready. If someone told me they were giving James and I a two-week cruise in the Carribean for a second honeymoon, I would try and contain my excitement until I was actually on the boat. What can I say? I don't like to be set up for disappointment. However, there's a woman in the Bible with amazing faith...unlike me. Her faith was so incredible that her story is actually included in Scripture three times! Pick your Gospel, and check out Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, or Luke 8:43-48...
Okay, now that you've read it from the source, I'll tell you my version. This poor woman has been bleeding for 12 years - that's over half of my life! Can you imagine the pain and how weak this woman must have felt? If you've ever bled for longer than a few minutes, you know that it's absolutely draining. She had to have been exhausted all the time.
But here was the worst part. In that day, if you were bleeding, you were considered unclean. No one could even touch her...and she wasn't allowed to touch anyone - it was LAW. So that's 12 years of bleeding with no hugs, no pats on the back, no strokes of her hair. Human touch is so comforting. As soon as I get upset, I immediately feel a little better once someone hugs me. Seriously, what girl doesn't like to be held when she's hurting? There are just some things we never outgrow.
This woman is on the street, and Jesus walks by her. Now, Jesus was in a hurry because Jairus needed Him to come to his house because his daughter was dying. He was also surrounded by a huge crowd. She didn't have time to spill her sob story to Him in hopes that He would heal her, as He had been performing many miracles. The only time that she had with Jesus was to just touch Him as He walked by...and maybe, just MAYBE she would be healed. But remember...she wasn't allowed to touch anyone. How would she ever get his attention?
As Jesus walked by, this woman was overwhelmed by faith, reached out her hand, and touched His robe as He walked by. The Bible says, "Immediately, her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." (Mark 5:29). WOW! IMMEDIATELY, her bleeding stopped, and she stopped hurting. Just from touching Jesus' clothing. What joy! What FREEDOM! But wait a second...Jesus stopped and turned around. Oh no. Did He know she had touched Him? Was she about to be jailed for breaking the law?
Jesus asked, "Who touched my clothes?" Okay...I'm not sure about you, but if I was walking in the middle of a huge crowd and I felt something brush against my shirt, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't freak out. But Jesus knew that there was something different about this touch. A little frightened, the woman came forward. She knew if Jesus knew someone had touched His clothes that He also would know she was the one who touched Him.
And then, she did what any normal girl would do in a situation where she thought she would be in trouble. She cried. (You know tears work...or at least buy some time!) She fell at the feet of our Lord and poured out her story between her tears. When she finished, she looked up, and I believe that she looked into the pair of the kindest eyes that you could ever imagine. He wasn't angry. Not at all. Jesus was moved by her faith.
Now, I don't have a Scripture account for this. I mean, stories like this make it obvious that men wrote the Bible. There's not much detail and definately not a lot of touchy-feely stuff. But this is a touchy-feely story! And all Matthew, Mark, and Luke can give me is that Jesus said, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace, and be freed from your suffering." Now, don't get me wrong. Those are powerful words, and I believe that Jesus said them. But I also want to know that Jesus placed his hand on her face and helped her stand up. I want to know that He hugged her and THEN he told her that her faith had healed her! When I get to heaven, Matthew, Mark, Luke and I are going to talk about writing descriptive accounts...or I might just find her and get the details.
Again, our fact-favoring writing boys of the Bible simply move on in Scripture to the next miracle. But let's stay for a moment with that woman and imagine what it would have been like. Just minutes before, she was sick, bleeding, unclean, and suffering. But after ONE TOUCH from Jesus and because of her faith in Him, she was healed. She was clean. She was no longer in pain. I imagine that as Jesus walked on that this woman fell back to her knees. I believe that she felt totally wrapped in God's presence and unbelievably grateful. Her faith had been rewarded.
So what exacty can we learn from this amazing woman of faith? Do you need an appointment to come to Jesus? No. Is Jesus EVER too busy for us? Absolutely not. Is there a problem that we have that He doesn't care about? No way. He is always there for us when we need Him. All you have to do is have faith and reach out to Him.
Touch Jesus today, and let Him heal you - whatever that may mean for you.