Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the “bleeding woman” or the woman with the “blood problem”. It’s the story in the Bible about the woman who had her period for 12 years. Something that nowadays could probably be fixed with a simple surgery.
This woman sacrificed everything she owned to get treatment with no success. She spent twelve years of her life with her period. If you’re a woman reading this, think about that for a minute. Seriously, think about that. Twelve years. In my opinion, a few days is too long.
Twelve years. Wow.
This woman probably spent most of her time alone because back in those days women were considered “unclean” when they were cycling. They didn’t interact with anyone during this time, it was a time for “themselves”.
As someone who struggles with depression, I cannot imagine spending twelve years alone knowing no one wanted to be near me. No touching, hugging, snuggling, giggling with friends, sharing time with other women. Never having the opportunity for marriage. Or children. There are hundreds of things this woman was unable to do because of the way people viewed her. Through no fault of her own.
This woman is so overwhelmed with her situation that she sees no other choice but to face ridicule and punishment by seeking out Jesus to heal her. She risked her life and the reputation of her family for her faith in God. She believed so strongly that Jesus was able to heal her that she risked everything.
Imagine if someone in the crowd would have recognized her and called her out. But that’s not what happened.
She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
Her faith instantly healed her. And at the very second Jesus turned and asked who touched his cloak.
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.
And then my favorite part of the whole story,
Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Instead of chastising her, He calls her “daughter”. Daughter. Such a beautiful example of God’s Mercy. He could have handled the situation in so many ways, but in consistent Jesus fashion, he chooses mercy.
So why do I doubt God’s mercy in my own life? He so graciously hands us mercy, why are some of us unable to take it? All those things I continually “punish” myself for, God has offered mercy on each and every one. He tells every one of us “your faith has healed you”, so why is it so hard to believe?
Because Satan is a liar and Satan doesn’t want us to accept God’s mercy. Satan wants us to live in shame and hiding. What would change in your life if you accepted God’s freely given mercy? Who can you offer a bit of mercy to?
If we are truly followers of Christ, shouldn’t mercy be at the forefront of our ministry. Mercy is hard sometimes, but the more you give, the easier it is to accept.
At least that’s what I’m currently learning.