Issues…We All Got ‘em
Issues…We All Got ‘em
(Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, and Luke 8:43-48)
Here we find yet another woman who was forever changed by her encounter with Jesus. All we know about her is that for the last 12 years of her life she has been constantly bleeding. This was an actual physical issue she was having and suffering with greatly. But, I do not want us to limit the application of this story to simply physical issues. Some of us have been bleeding spiritually, or emotionally, for years. And regardless if this is a physical, spiritual, or emotional issue it all wears on us, drains us, and keeps us from being all that God has called us to be.
This woman's issue of bleeding would have, per the Levitical law (Lev. 15:33-35), made her ritually unclean. So, this condition would have left her as an outcast and alone. How many of us, due to our emotional states, draw within and away from others making us an outcast by our own choosing? How many of us due to our spiritual sickness have pulled away from all that is spiritual and go into hiding?
You can see where this first started way back in the garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:7-8) When Adam and Eve sinned and saw that they were naked they covered themselves from each other with figs and hid from God. It’s an age old scheme of the enemy to get us alone. To keep ourselves hidden so others can’t see us and what’s really going on. To even hide and pull away from our fellowship with God. Because the enemy knows there is strength when we walk with God and there is strength when we walk with each other. Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 talks about this and how one person who is alone can be defeated but two can withstand and three is not easily broken. There is strength and safety in numbers. Proverbs 27:17 talks about how iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another. James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that we can be healed. How can you be encouraged by others if you are alone? How can you be strengthened by the word of God if you shut yourself off from him? John 15:5 talks about abiding in Christ and how he abides in us. It’s the only way to produce good fruit that’s not rotten! Romans 12:2 tells us to renew our minds which requires us to be in God’s word and presence. Fight the inward draw to seclude yourself from God and others because when you do, you are right where the enemy wants you. Easy prey! I Peter 5:8 Be sober minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Just like in the wild the lion separates their prey from the herd so they are defenseless and vulnerable.
This woman suffered greatly at the hands of doctors. Not only did this make her condition worse, but it was also financially devastated. I want to be clear that these next statements are by no means saying we shouldn’t have doctors! And I am by no means am saying that friends, therapists, counselors, or secular self-help books are to no benefit. I’m simply asking, when trouble hits, where do you run first? Do we say, man I could sure use a drink! Or run to another substance to numb or release you from your emotional pain? As far as a spiritual application, when we go to the “world’s” means or seek resolution without seeking God’s leading and guidance, our condition will often get worse. Do we ask God for wisdom in what doctors to use? Do we ask him if it’s ok to take the medication prescribed? Do we ask him to provide us godly counsel through others? Do we ask to have a teachable spirit so that when He does send someone that our pride will allow us to listen? Or do we think we know it all already? Are we operating in a self-sufficient state of being? Do we trust man’s wisdom over God’s? Do we think oh this is an easy one, I don’t need God for this? I got this one God! We see this take place in the book of Joshua 7:1-26 and it was devastating. The past six chapters were a series of victories all given by God. But, then Joshua thought that this battle was small in comparison to the previous ones and that he could handle this one on his own. He forgot where his strength and victory came from. He took for granted the presence and hand of God on his life and he moved without consulting God first, and lives were lost. Had he gone to God first, as he had in the past, he would have known there was sin in the camp and defeat could have been prevented. All I’m saying is, who better than God to lead us to the path of healing regardless of what kind path it is? I’m simply suggesting that it’s important not to make God the last resort in any situation. He should always be our first line of defense! Not our friends, therapists, counselors, or secular self-help books, all of these things that make you self-reliant instead of being dependent on God. Not our pills or the world’s way of escaping and covering up our pain. When we seek just what the world has to offer, it can drain us from all resources and leave us bankrupt in all manners! This woman was desperate she had tried anything and everything to find relief. I know in my own personal life I often found myself looking in every direction but “up”. I would exhaust every option and all roads until I finally admitted defeat. Only then out of desperation and failure would I find myself saying, ok now I’ll try God. Like he’s my last resort instead of my first line of defense. How foolish I’ve been and how much heartache and time I could have saved myself if I had just run to him and waited patiently on him to answer my heart’s cry. Why do we pick that phone up and call anyone and everyone else first instead of running into the arms of God. Lord forgive me!
I will say one thing about this woman. She was tenacious! She did not let her impossible situation and continued failures keep her from pursuing Jesus! She must have heard stories of Jesus. Stories of healing that dared to give her hope of healing. Maybe she was even an eye witness of Jesus healing someone else and was brave enough to believe, why not me too! Whatever it was that got her there, she dared to have hope once more. For she thought to herself if I can just touch his robe, I will be healed. There was a massive crowd around Jesus. How weak she must have been from being sick for so long. But, she was desperate! Nothing was going to keep her from Jesus. Not fear, not religion, not even the chance of yet another disappointment…For she had faith that one touch could make her whole!
When suffering for long periods of time it can be our temptation to give up and lose hope. Sometimes losing all hope to the point that we accept our broken condition as a permanent fixture in our life. We say things like, I’ve had this addiction for years I can’t break away. Or I’ve been this way my entire life it’s just who I am. Or maybe even the scariest lie of all, this is just how God made me I don’t have a choice. All of these are lies the enemy whispers to our soul as he tries to tighten his grip on us. But God!...You see, all throughout scripture we see our God as being the God that heals. The God that brings freedom. The God that makes what seems to be impossible possible. He is the author of change, progression, and moving past our captivity and cycles! And I don’t mean just physically. He wants to heal us physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally! There’s not one aspect of our being that He doesn’t want to touch. John 10:10 reminds us that God’s purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life. Jeremiah 30:17 “For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,” says the Lord. Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. I’m not saying that you will never have a bad day or see hard times. John 16:33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. I’m saying that with God leading the way even in the darkest of nights you can have a peace and joy that surpasses all understanding. He is the God of hope!
Well, sure enough from the moment she touched Jesus she was immediately healed. Jesus felt the healing power had gone out from him. So he turns to the crowd and asks, “who touched me?” His disciples were confused by these questions. “How could you ask that when the crowd around you is pressing in on you?” I find it so interesting that Jesus asks this question. I fully believe he knew. Usually when Jesus asks a question it is for the benefit of the one he’s asking not because he doesn’t know. I could only imagine how scared she was. Her touching Jesus in her condition was not allowed by the law. Trembling she fell at this feet and told him what she had done. That act alone I believe also had healing. She was so used to being rejected and an outcast. Now here she was publicly confessing what just took place. Then he calls her Daughter! An intimate loving response. One that pulled her in with love not rejections. How that must have washed over her broken lonely heart. How hearing those words must have healed her in ways that went deeper than just her physical needs. Then he tells her, “your faith has made you well go in peace, your suffering is over.” Your suffering is over! How those worlds must have echoed from within healing her body, soul, mind, and spirit! I think how the curiosity of the crowd didn’t really amount to much. There were several people pressing in on Jesus. But curiosity alone left them unchanged. The desperation of this one woman seeking Jesus with all she had however, resulted in a changed life and healing that could only come from Jesus. Healing she had been looking for for 12 years.
Do you feel too damaged for Jesus? Do you feel too far gone or hopeless? Don’t let your fears or discouragement keep you from the hope and life Jesus can offer. Courageously reach out to Jesus! One touch done in faith can bring you healing too!
Father God, I cry out to you today on behalf of every woman reading this. I pray you would break our hearts for what breaks yours. Move us from curiosity to desperation for you. Release us from the lie of being self-sufficient and self-reliant. Help us to stop choosing worldly options for spiritual needs. Help us to seek you first in all things and in all ways. We confess and believe that this world and the things of it has nothing to offer us in comparison to You. This world cannot truly heal and meet our needs like you Father. Turn us from our own efforts where we run from one solution to the next. Point our hearts to you Father. For all who are weary and burdened help us to draw near to you so that we may find rest in you. Help us to call on you so that You can heal us. God please meet all our needs according to the riches of Your glory in Christ Jesus. I beg of you Father, for every woman reading this, reach in to every broken piece and do only what you can do. For You give power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even in our youth we get weak and tired and can fall in exhaustion. Help us to trust in you so we will find new strength. So we will soar high on wings like eagles. So we will run and not grow weary. So we will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31) – I ask all of this in the Mighty healing name of Jesus, AMEN