This morning, I read about the woman who was bleeding for 12 years.
(Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-43, Luke 8:40-56.)
We see such a stark contrast in what a difference 12 years can make. For Jarius’ daughter, we imagine the life and joy of watching their little girl grow up. Her daddy was a leader, so she probably had a good life—until the day she fell ill.
The crowd realized how huge this was. Jarius was not just any leader in the synagogue. According to the original language, he was the chief ruler. To many, he and his daughter were the obvious choice for Jesus to help. They were valuable and known. A huge crowd surrounded them, eager to see what would happen when these two important men headed out to do something about the tragedy that was threatening twelve years of this family’s story.
...Until a life that was also marked by twelve years interrupted the parade. For TWELVE years this woman had suffered with an issue of blood. For us today, we can quickly feel horror for how miserable that must have been. But for a Jewish woman in Jesus day, not only were medical options limited, but if there was blood, you were unclean—ostracized. Not allowed in. Separate. Unworthy. Ashamed. Denied. She shouldn’t even have been out around people. She had exhausted her resources. She was broke and repulsive. For twelve years. What does that do to a woman’s heart? While Jarius’ daughter was growing towards her purpose this woman was withering farther and farther away from hers. Or so it seemed.
For a long time now, a common prayer for me is how I often just feel stuck. I feel like I’m pushing and straining against a brick wall that just is not moving. When I read this woman’s story, I always think about how it took 12 years for her to see anything happen. I wonder how tired she was. Not just physically from a condition that literally drained her, but also, just tired. She was out of medical hope. In fact, relying on all of her resources had actually left her worse.
Today, I looked at her story from a slightly different angle. I saw a woman who just take a chance. I was overwhelmed that after all she had done, and all that she had been through, she still pushed through the crowd and dove for it. That’s a fat ton of enthusiasm for someone who had every excuse to just give up. It struck me that we just never know when it will be the moment that Jesus walks by, and if we are still persistent enough to dive for it....boom. In a moment. It happens.
I love that Jesus only saw her interruption as a beautiful display of faith. I love that even though He is the most important person who has ever lived, He was totally willing to stop and celebrate the lowest person in the crowd walk out their faith moment. I love that He is enough for it all. It didn’t cost Jarius or his daughter that Jesus helped the woman. In fact it actually made her story that much more powerful.
What is the thing that I am so tired of pushing for? What is the thing that feels hopeless to change unless Jesus walks by? When He does....will I be brave enough to dive for Him? When others around me seem to get the miracle, or the win, or the breakthrough, do I compare and feel like it costs me? What if I trusted Jesus to have enough power to rock all of our lives?
Can I chose today to believe that someone else’s gain is not my loss and decide cheer loudest when I am at my weakest?
Here is an older but beautiful song from local song writer Johnny Hale that has touched my heart deeply over the years and given me words when I wasn't sure how to keep begging for hope.