Have you ever wondered if God really sees you or cares about your circumstances?
There’s a beautiful story found in the gospel of Mark about a woman who suffered with an unfortunate medical condition. The condition caused her to bleed continually and she lived with this burden for twelve long years. During this time, she spent all the money that she had visiting multiple doctors and undergoing numerous medical treatments. However, instead of finding relief, her condition got worse.
The woman was probably bleeding vaginally. It may be a stretch for you men to fully appreciate the significance of that statement. But ladies, can you imagine having your period for twelve years straight?! It would be MISERABLE!
As uncomfortable and inconvenient as the physical symptoms would be, it would have also been devastating for her socially. Unfortunately, bleeding incessantly made her ceremonially unclean.
For a little context, look at Leviticus 15:25:
“When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period…”
This poor woman had been unclean for over a decade. This meant that for years she had probably lived as an outcast within her community. She wouldn’t have been able to worship in the synagogue, or go shopping in the marketplace. She was probably excluded from family celebrations and other social gatherings. It was unlawful for her to touch anyone, and people likely avoided her for fear of becoming unclean themselves.
I’m sure it was a very lonely existence. I wonder if she had moments when she felt completely lost and hopeless, maybe even forgotten…
But then one day everything changed. She heard about a miracle worker. A man named Jesus who could heal the blind, cause lame people to walk, and even set demon-possessed people free!
Maybe, just maybe, he could heal her too?
Despite the fact that she was weak and tired from her condition, she chose to brave the crowds. Driven with a new hope of being healed, she pushed her way through the throngs of people clamoring for Jesus’ attention. Somehow, she managed to get close enough to reach out and touch him.
She thought to herself, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” (Mark 5:28)
And that’s when it happened. God, in His infinite grace, granted the woman her deepest desire.
“Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:29)
Can you imagine how she must have felt?! All the years of ups and downs, shattered hopes, desperate tears… they were finally over. She was FREE!
Her plan was to fade back into the crowd, but Jesus didn’t let her off the hook so easy.
“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.”(Mark 5:30-32)
Although he hadn’t knowingly healed the woman, Jesus was instantly aware that something miraculous had just happened through him, and he wanted to acknowledge 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 5:33-34)
It definitely seems as if the woman could have just disappeared back into the mob of people crowding around Jesus. And yet, I think she knew that she couldn’t hide from God. So she fell at Jesus’ feet, trembling with fear.
What would he say? What would he do? After-all, she was a ceremonially unclean woman who had just touched a righteous man of God. By law, she could be punished!
Falling at his feet, she poured out her story for everyone to hear and then waited for his stern rebuke. Instead, Jesus tenderly addressed her with the title “daughter” and assured her that her faith had made her well. Interestingly, she is the only woman that Jesus ever addressed in this particular manner.
I love the fact that Jesus earnestly looked for the woman. And then, when he found her, he lovingly affirmed her. She wasn’t just physically healed that day. When Jesus publicly acknowledged her, he completely restored her identity. She was no longer a social outcast. She was a daughter of the KING!
I don’t know what circumstances you are walking through today. Maybe you feel a little like the woman from this story… tired, worn down, hopeless, forgotten.
Can I encourage you to seek after Jesus anyway? Can you push through whatever obstacles seem to be standing in the way, for the simple chance that you might experience a miraculous encounter with the healer? Will you choose to believe in a God who is in the business of bringing hope and restoration to the weary, the burdened and the broken-hearted?
Despite how it feels sometimes, I absolutely believe that God sees you. More than that, I believe He is earnestly seeking after you! Like the woman in our story, he longs to tell you that he cares for you. You matter to him. So much so, that he gave His very life for you.
Jesus loves you!
Will you allow Him to tell you so today?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“God is love. He didn’t need us. But he wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing.” Pastor Rick Warren