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 to touch his cloak and was miraculously healed. Was Jesus upset, insulted or bothered by her actions that were shrouded in secrecy? 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 much more in the process.
How does one progress from seeker to believer? What does it take to grab and catch Jesus’ attention? Why does Jesus want us to meet Him all the way and not merely midway, to know Him personally and just know about Him?
Faith is Not a Thankless, But a Tireless Exercise
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 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. (Mk 5:25-26)
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.
But then one day, after scavenging for food, the survivor arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “God, how could you do this to me!” he cried.
Early the next day, however, the man was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.
It’s been said, “A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a person. Kites rise against, not with the wind.”
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, 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 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. 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 or make her better, 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.
The fact that she got through to Jesus was a miracle in itself and a triumph of faith. Not only did the disciples surround him, a large crowd that had gathered by the lake was following him closely and beginning to press against Jesus to the point of crushing him (Lk 8:42). Not only did she have to keep pace with the moving crowd, she had to move up, get free, wiggle through, cut in and remain anonymous. All she had was the strength of a woman, a sick one too, but she managed to overcome her worry of suffocation from the crowd, separation from Jesus and for her own safety, not withstanding the fear of being chased, cornered, caught, chided and cursed.