This post is a bit of a departure for me. It is outside my comfort zone, so please be gracious as you read.
Before I go any further, I’m going to remind you that I’m not here to do the heavy lifting for you and tell you what to believe- that is YOUR privilege and responsibility to work out for yourself, so whilst I’m sharing something of my worldview/faith here, I by no means am suggesting you need to share it. Do your own homework 😉
The PRINCIPLE I want to talk about is beyond faith, so I hope you’ll be open minded and meander with me through this post 🙂
Here’s the story of what is often referred to as the ‘bleeding woman’… I’ve taken it from the Message (Luke 8: 43-48)
43-45 In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”
When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”
46 Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”
47 When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.
48 Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”
This is a tiny story in the library of books which comprise the Bible and yet for as many years as I can remember, this has been my favourite Bible story. Here’s why.
Bleeding for 12 years- are you kidding me?!
What I love in the midst of these few verses is how Jesus wasn’t content just to heal her physically. He did that, and given how draining 12 years of bleeding must have been, I bet that healing was a huge relief. I know us ladies can extrapolate a period from a draining few days to what a dozen years of haemorrhaging must have been like. Yikes.
So ok, the physical healing is amazing and life-changing. But that wasn’t enough for Jesus here. And this is the bit that breaks my heart time and again.
This lady was considered ceremonially unclean because of her health condition. Bleeding made her unclean to be around, which meant she couldn’t fully participate in the faith life of her community. So she was likely not only physically suffering, financially struggling because of needing medical help, but she was also likely isolated from family and certainly from her faith community. She was spectacularly vulnerable and outside the acceptance of many she would have encountered.
Side note: I am not going to judge those who stayed away from her out of reverence to their faith. We are looking back c. 2000 years into a completely different culture, with only limited details. We don’t know how isolated she actually was or shunned or whatever, but if you’ve ever had a period, particularly if it’s gone on or been particularly heavy, it ain’t exactly a time you’re excited about being social with others, no matter how they feel about you! … now imagine that, for years, in a culture without the sanitary products or healthcare we have access to in our first world lives today.
Public Holistic Healing
In making public her healing, not only did Jesus heal her physically, but he opened the door for restoration to her community, to her faith and to protection and supports that those might offer.
That blows my mind. That holistic healing inspires me. I see myself in that woman: ill, isolated, broken, feeling worthless, written off by others, uncared for, betrayed… I’ve experienced nothing on the scale of that lady, but I’ve experienced those feelings on occasion and maybe you have too? I love that merely healing one aspect is not enough for Jesus. And I want to be able to pay forward the healing I’ve received and help others.
I’m NOT a preacher and if you’re looking to find fault with a Jesus-follower, I’m quite sure I’ll provide you with ample ammunition to judge, but if you can set that aside, I wonder if there’s a challenge here for all of us?
- A challenge to look beyond the obvious perhaps?
- A challenge to ask would we have rebelled against social norms to reach out to someone who could otherwise be ostracised?
- The faith to believe that we could be healed or just move beyond where we’re at now?
I don’t know what moves you in this story, or if indeed it speaks to you at all the way it does to me. And honestly, I’m not even sure who I’m writing this for today. I’ve gone to write this multiple times and it hasn’t come out, so I have to wonder why it’s coming out now!
Regardless of the reason, I hope it inspires you, maybe encourages your heart and I want to thank you for reading this far, I appreciate you. Do let me know what moves you, I’d love to hear your heart’s take on this x