My mother is only one example of a woman who has impacted my life as a result of her relationship with Christ. Over the next several months in this series, I want to share with you about some of the other women who have impacted my life solely because of their relationship with Jesus. I believe as I share that you, too, will connect with them and discover for yourself how God has always had a plan for you, is working it out in your life and will never leave you.
The Woman Who Bled
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 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. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' "But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
— Mark 5:24-34
Are there things going on in your life that either never seem to get resolved or change - even after years of prayer and petition for God to change them? Perhaps you can't seem to get ahead of your bills. You are always having to borrow to only get farther behind. Or maybe you have a child who can't seem to get his life in order? He has picked an alternative life-style or he is in and out of drug rehab programs. Maybe its a friend that keeps coming to you with her problems. She never seems to take your advice and so she just stays in the same place, month after month, year after year. Or perhaps you have been waiting for the "one" to come and that still hasn't happened. You are now pushing 40 and the dreams of one day having a spouse and a family are slowly disappearing. Or you had the "one" only to be betrayed, leaving you devastated. Finally, like the woman who bled for 12 years, you have a health problem that has been around for years. You have asked God to take it away over and over and over. So why hasn't he answered your prayer in the way you want? Why is your child or friend still making bad choices? Why can't you get the better job so you can get out of debt? Why hasn't God brought you your special person to spend the rest of your life with? Why has God taken away the pain of lost love? Why?
Recently a friend came to me and told me some devastating news. She had been diagnosed with an incurable, but not deadly, disease. She had had this disease for some time but wasn't aware of it. This disease would affect most of her life. It would change things – things that she wasn't ready to change. She was sad, discouraged, frustrated, angry and hurt. She asked God why? Had she done something to deserve it? Life seemed already bleak to her as it was. Sure, she has many wonderful days, and she is thankful to God for them. However her job wasn't the best, her finances were always a struggle and she still had not found the "one". Now this? Needless to say she is spending a lot of time with God right now. Trying to find a place of peace about her new life to come. Trying to understand her disease, her options and how to live with it.
I, too, struggle with health issues that require daily medication to survive. I live modestly, watching my money as it seems to pour out of my hands. I also haven't found the "one". But you know what? God has brought me to such a place of peace about things that I have chosen to be patient about all things that he hasn't given me yet.? Sure, there are days when I get discouraged but I have never lost hope. Even in the midst of the storm I know my Lord is there, working things out for me and giving me peace about it all. This has been my advice to my friend. That even though this new health concern will change her life, it can change it for the better. Sure, her plans might not work out but God's plans are so much higher than our own. He wants to give us so much more than we could ever imagine. Even in the worst circumstances, he can be glorified through our lives as we stay submissive in him. As we stay close to him.
The woman who bled for 12 years is especially close to my heart. I believe it is my favorite scripture because of the incredible faith that this woman showed. Why now after all these years did God heal her? Was it for others to see her faith? Was it for others to witness a healing? Was it just for her? Was it for her own family and friends? Would she now go out and share the news of Christ to others? Was it just for us who now read her story? Perhaps it was for all of these answers. I can visualize the massive crowd around Jesus. So many had heard of who he was, that he could heal you and restore you. So many wanting to just get close to him. Pushing and shoving.
Jesus had just been asked to heal a little girl. He was on his way to her home when he felt that someone had touched him. That some of his power had left him. He would ask his disciples who had touched his clothes. "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' " But Jesus knew that this touch was different. This cry for help came from someone with a different heart. Someone who knew what patience was. Someone who knew what power Christ had. Someone who had real faith.
Christ would heal her because it was his will. Her healing would have a purpose that would grow more fruit than she could ever imagine. Sure, Christ could have healed her from day one and perhaps one or two people would have known. However, due to the delay and what this woman had to endure, the healing came so that millions would one day know Christ. Millions would one day understand that our God does have a plan for us, and it is greater than we could ever know. It's not always what we want, so we must trust in his direction and not our own.
What I Have Learned From the Woman Who Bled:
1. Faith is not just by saying and believing but by living it.
This woman showed us what real faith looks like. That even when God doesn't answer your prayers in the way you want, you still need to have faith. She believed in Christ and who he was. She first had heard without actually seeing what he could do. She believed he had the power to heal her.
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
— Mark 5:27-29
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
— Mark 5:34
2. Trust in God.
Even though I believe in doctors – because I believe God works through doctors and nurses – I also believe we sometimes limit God because man is limited. This woman did what most of us do. She sought out many doctors to cure her. She spent everything she had only to get worse. I sensed she was at her end when she heard about Jesus and what He could do. She wasn't ready to give up just yet. She took a risk to trust in God's power and not man's. This power would heal her, and she would suffer no more.
In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise-in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you.
— Psalm 56:10-12
3. Suffering produces perseverance.
This woman persevered to find a cure, and she never gave up. Doctors during biblical times are not like doctors today. She would not find a cure because at that time there wasn't one for her illness. Her cure would have to come from God. This woman, through her suffering, would manage to weave through this crowd and touch Jesus' clothes. I know her body must have been in pain, perhaps even bleeding at this moment, but it didn't matter. She kept moving forward. She was determined to touch Jesus, to be healed.
If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
— 2 Corinthians 1:6
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
— Romans 5:3-4
4. Loneliness can lead to hope.
Because we know that this kind of illness would be considered "unclean", I believe this woman spent a lot of time alone, resulting in loneliness. Her illness kept her from being able to do a lot of things in her home, and in her community. She not only was bleeding but was also in physical pain. So many of you are suffering with illnesses that keep you from enjoying life, from having friends, from going to church and work. One day you get up feeling great and another you're in bed. I am sure this woman felt the same. However, her loneliness led to her hope in believing she would one day not suffer anymore, and she would be able to rejoin society. And she did.
Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
— Mark 5:29
5. Don't ever give up on God.
This woman taught me more than perseverance. She taught me that I should never give up on God. I should never give up on what he wants to show me. God is still at work not only in my life but in the lives of my friends, my family and even in finding the "one".
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
— 1 Thessalonians 2:13
6. I learned about humility.
Can you even imagine her unbelievable humility at this point? After 12 long, hard, emotional and exasperating years of suffering, in one second she had been healed not only from bleeding but from the physical pain. Are there times in your life that God has done something miraculous? Every day I am saved from near car accidents from being on my cell phone or reaching for something. Every day I am saved from infectious germs from touching grocery carts or eating at restaurants due to God's design of my body to fight infection. Every day, God gives me his word to renew me in his strength. Every day is a new day to experience God and his love. Do you fall at his feet to thank him? Or do you take each day for granted?
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
— Mark 5:32
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
— Proverbs 11:2
7. I learned about Holiness.
This woman knew in whose presence she was. When Christ asked who had touched him, the woman fell at his feet trembling with fear. Why was she afraid? Was it because she thought if he really knew her he would take back the healing? Or was she afraid he would be mad because she touched him – something a Rabbi would normally rebuke her for? Or did she think he would punish her for taking something (power) from him without asking? Perhaps some of these are true or none. I personally believe she was trembling with fear because she was in the presence of our almighty God. She was on holy ground.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.
— Psalm 96:9
8. Her suffering (my suffering) is nothing compared to Christ's.
I know Jesus suffered so much more than I could ever imagine. I know he understands our pain, our hurt, our disappointment. Just knowing he understands helps me endure whatever I am going through.
And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
— 2 Corinthians 1:7
9. God healed her for his purpose.
In Luke 4:27, we find another account of the story of the woman who was bleeding. When she was healed she made a declaration for all of those around her about what God had done. Do you tell people of what God has done in your life? People seem to have such a hard time telling others about Christ. Start with hi, hello, it's nice to meet you. Start with those you see daily/weekly like your dry cleaner, your gas station attendant, your kid's teacher, your doctor or dentist, your neighbor. Start with a hello that leads to how are you that leads to tell me something about yourself and vice versa that leads to a relationship. A relationship that can lead them to Christ. Everyone we meet every day has a purpose in our lives.
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."
...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
— Philippians 2:13
God is working out his purpose in your life, too. This woman would become an instant witness for hundreds of people including Jesus' disciples. Christ would not let her leave without revealing what he had done, so that people could see that this healing was by his "will". That this healing was not because of his garment but it was from him. This type of miracle would only be one example of the many people who came to Jesus with only their faith, trusting in him to heal them or their loved ones.
So why did it take so long? Why has God allowed things to happen to us that seem obscure? Why hasn't he changed other lives or given us a better job or given us the "one" yet? Why do we seem to suffer year after year? Just like the woman who bled, I believe it's all a part of God's purpose for our lives.
For myself I believe my suffering is to make me stronger, to keep me close to Christ, to remind me of his control over my life. My suffering also keeps me in communication with God. If everything was perfect, then I might have the tendency to leave God out of the plan. However, through disappointment and unanswered prayer my seeking of God is stronger. I have had to find a bigger peace and a stronger hope. I have had to step out on faith in ways I have never done before. I have had to trust God for his plan and not mine, believing his ways are better than mine.
I know that one day none of us will suffer for anything but until then I pray that God just uses me through my suffering to glorify him.
Click here to read the first article in this series.
Kris Swiatocho is the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries. Kris has served in single adult ministry in various capacities for the last 20 years. She is currently working on her second book, "Jesus ... Single Like Me," and her first book, "31 Day Experiment: Singles and Relationships" (Harvest House Publishers), was co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources.
TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries helps churches, pastors and single adult leaders evaluate, develop, and support their single adult ministries through high-energy speaking engagements, results-oriented consulting and training, and leadership development conferences and seminars. Click here to request a FREE "How to Start a Single Adult Ministry" guide.
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