"When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." Mark 5:27-28
Just the mention of the word is painful. To suffer means to "submit to or be forced to endure; bear as a victim or patient, to undergo pain of body or mind.
It would be the first time I would speak about the 13 months of "suffering" I endured during Joshua's life, diagnosis and death. It would be for many, the first time they heard about the point God had brought me to, behind the closed doors of my bedroom immediately following Joshua's diagnosis.....seeking shelter under my covers from the pain of the suffering. The darkness that threatened to overcome me over and over again. The first time they would see the nakedness of a girl who had been living life according to her plans and purposes. And the way God intervened and interrupted in a huge and powerful way. The brokenness- real and uncovered, laying open for all to lay eyes on.
I was willing to be naked before these women and share all this and more because in the end...the victory was Christ Jesus's. The glory was His. He made me whole. He made Josh whole.
In those days immediately following Joshua's diagnosis, behind the closed door, hidden away in my bedroom, weeping and numb under the covers....laid a girl carrying a child....and me and Josh...we were both God's children....He loves us the same.. and me and Josh....were both broken. Josh was physically broken and I was spiritually.
We all suffer in this life. The suffering has a name for each of us, sometimes two names...sometimes even more...it is death, divorce, abandonment, loss of a job, financial hardship, depression, disease, disability, abuse, an unintimate marriage, a prodigal child....the list is long.
This women....she suffered. She was afflicted. She had a disease that caused her to bleed persistently for 12 years. I don't know about you....but I love it when I am nursing and there isn't any bleeding for a year! Can you imagine 12 years of persistent bleeding? According to Levitical Law...she was unclean. No one could touch her and she couldn't touch anyone....or they too would be unclean. (Leviticus 15). She was ostracized from society. A cast away....left to herself and her affliction. To suffer in silence. Alone.
She was broke...penniless.... as she had given doctor upon doctor all her money, hoping that each time....maybe this one would have a cure. Maybe this doctor would have the answer. But each time...with each doctor....her condition worsened.
This woman had heard about Jesus. She had heard of the miracles He had performed. She had heard of His teaching in the Synagogues. She had hope in Him.
And on that day, people were gathering in the streets. Many people. Crowds of people eager to hear and see Jesus. To get a glimpse of Him. He had just come from Decapolis and had was heading to Nazareth with His disciples. As he came off the boat he was travelling in, Jairus, fell at Jesus's feet and pleaded with Jesus to heal his daughter. She was near death and he knew that if Jesus touched her, she would be healed and live.
People overheard Jairus's plea for healing. They pushed in toward Jesus and Jairus. They wanted to see Him heal this little girl. They wanted to see with their eyes and then they would believe. All the while, this woman....is standing in shame and embarrassment in the shadows. She knew that the power this man had....would heal her too. She knew it in her heart. She believed it....if only she could touch Him.....one touch was all she needed....and she would be made whole...she would be healed.
Despite the shame, despite the fear, despite the insecurity,.....she pushed in. She knew Jesus was the answer. She couldn't cover the shame. She couldn't cover the fear, she couldn't cover the embarrassment.....the doctor's couldn't find the answer.....only Jesus could give the cure that would last. Only Jesus could wipe away the shame, erase the fear forever. Only Jesus.
And in that moment....she reached out her hand.....and touched the hem of Jesus's robe.
In that instant.....her bleeding stopped.....a wave of peace and security and well being flooded over her. She experienced the power of Jesus Christ.
And Jesus stopped. He looked around for He knew that someone had released His power. This woman's touch was different that the rest. He was surrounded by people touching Him, grabbing at Him, pulling Him.....but this woman....she was different. She knew Jesus. She didn't deny His power. She had faith in HIM.
Jesus asked for this woman to come forward.....identify yourself. He wanted this woman to know that it was His divine will that healed her. His plan carried out through His power.
The fear...it began to creep back in......"what will happen to me?" "I am unclean. I shouldn't have been here.....I touched this man......." but her faith in Him prevailed. She knew with every ounce of her being that this man was different.....and she fell before HIM and confessed. "It is I....I touched you."
And He said to her, "Daughter, you faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over." Mark 5:34
Your suffering is over. Go in peace. You are my daughter. I am your Daddy. I love you.
Jesus can say that to all of us....today. It is available. He is waiting to take you into the folds of His mighty and powerful arms. He wants to stop the suffering. He desires for us to be made whole. It is only through HIM. It is only by His power.
And not only was this woman healed physically.....she was healed spiritually. She believed by faith in Jesus Christ.
Why did she have to suffer for 12 years? I don't know. Maybe because during those 12 years, Jesus was opening her eyes and bringing her to the place of accepting that He is the only way. Maybe in those 12 years, He was teaching her. He was preparing her. Those 12 years were painful. They were lonely. But it was that pain that brought forth life.....a whole beautiful and peaceful life.
Will she suffer again? I'm sure of it. I know I have suffered again and again.....but what I also know is that when my eyes opened to the healing that Jesus Christ offers.....that when I finally surrendered to His plan and His way......then I am always whole in HIM even during the suffering. He receives the praise and the honor. In the end....He receives all the glory.
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
Praying we are all made whole....and that our suffering is for Him....In Christ's love-Stacy