Summary: Miracle of Faith, Pt. 3
DON’T JUST STAND THERE, DO SOMETHING! (MARK 5:21-34)
Yahoo! Health describes a bleeding disorder as prolonged bleeding due to inadequate blood clotting or coagulation. Normal blood coagulation, it seems, is a complex process involving as many as 20 different plasma proteins to form a substance called fibrin that stops bleeding. And when certain coagulation factors are deficient or missing, the process does not occur normally. Bleeding problems can range from mild to severe.
Some bleeding disorders are present at birth and are caused by rare inherited disorders, and some are developed during certain illnesses (such as vitamin K deficiency, severe liver disease), or treatments (such as use of anticoagulant drugs or prolonged use of antibiotics). Bleeding disorder symptoms include excessive bleeding, excessive bruising, easy bleeding, nosebleeds, and abnormal menstrual bleeding. The list from Yahoo! Health includes as many as 14 specific bleeding disorder diseases.
When Jesus was on the way to Jairus?house to heal his daughter, a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak and was miraculously healed. Not only was her method unorthodox in the Bible, her faith was unaware to the crowd, but her fear, apprehension and relief was understandable to Jesus. Though she was content to be healed, healthy, and hidden, Jesus asked and required more from her and yet gave and taught her more in the process.
How was the woman’s approach different from other seekers? What unconventional methods did she take? Why did Jesus want to meet her? Was he upset, insulted or bothered by her actions that were shrouded in secrecy?
Faith is Not a Thankless, But a Tireless, Exercise
25And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She 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. (Mk 5:25-26)
One of the earliest and the most outstanding intellectuals, leaders and defenders of the Christian faith was Augustine, the fourth century writer of the “Confessions of Saint Augustine,?one of the most famous tell-all autobiography written. Young Augustine was a hedonist, a philosopher, an agnostic, and a rebel, but his mother Monica was a godly, persistent, and resourceful woman.
Augustine often laughed at her mother’s pious ways, mocked her faith, and deliberately defied her continual pleading for him to repent of his pagan lifestyle, to convert to Christ, and to live an exemplary life.
When Augustine wanted to leave the shores of Carthage, North Africa, for the bright lights of Rome, his mother feared the worst for her son, dreaded the outcome of his leaving, and often fled to the church for solace, prayer, and advice. In her despair, she would often weep uncontrollably for her son. One day a minister noticed her painful cries, and asked her why she was so bitter. She told him of his wayward son, but the bishop assured her with these words: “Go in peace; as you live, it cannot be that the son of these tears should perish.?
Augustine avoided his mother as much as possible and ignored her warnings time and again, but he could not escape her continuous prayers. Monica painstakingly prayed, wept, and looked for her son for 30 years until Augustine surrendered his life to Christ.
Life has its heartaches, and none is as heartbreaking as a rare, a stubborn, or an unspeakable illness that is dreaded for its physical onslaught, financial cost, and mental, emotional and physical toil. The Chinese saying, “Long-sick folks have no filial or obedient child by their bed.?
The Law had some specific instructions on how to deal with a woman who has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or beyond her period. The woman, her bed, and anything she sits on will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, and those who had contact with her and her belongings will be unclean and must wash their clothes and bathe themselves, and will be unclean till evening (Leviticus 15:19, 25-27).
The story of the woman with a bleeding disorder began 12 years ago. She had a degenerating disease and was an ongoing sufferer, and her visits to the doctors were frequent, expensive, and ineffectual. As health is more important than wealth, she spent all she had possessed, earned, and saved. Numerous doctors had attempted in vain ancient techniques, modern experiments and unconventional ways on her, regularly calling her in, changing her medication, and charging her again. The doctors could not heal her body, but she did not quit. She was determined in spirit to live on, press on, and battle on. Her illness or her troubles besieged her but it did not break her. No matter which doctor she visited, what diagnosis she heard, and how destitute she was, her resolve not to give up set her apart from others.