The Issue of Hope

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The Issue of Hope~ Kathy A. Weckwerth

Sunflower FieldIn Mark, chapter 5, the story is told of a woman who has been bleeding for twelve years:

A large crowd followed Jesus and pushed very close around Him.  Among them was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered very much from many doctors and had spent all the money she had, but instead of improving, she was getting worse” (Mark 5:24-28)

I have read this passage over and heard many pastors speak about this throughout the years.  For whatever reason I don’t understand why, but I never understood that this woman saw MANY doctors and spent ALL the money she had.  She was in trouble.  She was ill.  No one had answers.

For those of us who are women, we know how exhausting the loss of blood can be.  In his book, Cast of Characters, Lost & Found, Max Lucado states this:  “The Talmud gives no fewer than eleven cures for such a condition.  No doubt she had tried them all.”  But instead of getting better, she got worse.  Each day she is ostracized by those around her.

A couple of weeks ago I was hit with a horrible flu.  I had a scratchy throat, achy body, fever, chills, and experienced the worst of what happens to us during winter months in Minnesota.

I headed in to the doctors and they stated that because our society has been quick to run to medicine with every creak or ache, society has become immune to medication that at one time might have provided relief.  My options?  I could either take some antibiotics for what looked like a sinus infection, or I could sit this out and wait for it to pass.  “Give me the medication!”  I emphasized to my doctor.  I couldn’t take the four days of pain I’d experienced.

The woman in Mark’s description had lived through her illness for twelve long years.  Day after day, night after night, she lost blood.   But she doesn’t give up and she holds onto hope with clenched fists.

When she arrives that day, praying that this Son of God will heal her, she is surrounded by people.  Jesus is headed to heal the daughter of Jairus, a respected man of the community.  What were the chances that she could persuade Jesus to heal her?  She was someone who people ignored, shunned, and expressed dislike towards.  She would win no popularity contests in this town.

Mark 5:28 states, ” because she thought, ‘If I can just touch his clothes, I will be healed.'”  This is an example of hope.  This is faith oozing out at its fullest, deepest, richest, and being acted out by the reaching of a hand towards the only one who could ever heal, save, or offer hope.

Faith is the belief that God will help.  That hope finds its way to the answers.  That what was once horrific will now be restored, renewed, redeemed.

All this woman has is the hope that this man, this Son of God can heal and restore her tired body.

She reaches … she touches … she is healed.  But in scripture, something happens that has never happened before, nor happens after this event … the power left Jesus’ body to heal her without Him purposefully turning to heal her and knowing that it was being done.  “Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My garments?'”

Obviously Jesus knew power was going out of Him, and being the Son of God, He ultimately knew what happened, but that was for the rest of us to see and understand.  Her faith healed her.  A simple hand reaching out in HOPE and FAITH towards Jesus was what healed her.

She is afraid now as Christ questions the crowd by asking who touched Him.  She falls down and confesses … it was me.  And Jesus, for the only time in scripture calls someone the intimate term … daughter, and says, “‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction’.”

A woman who has been cast off, deserted, and suffered alone for so long, is now called the favored term, “daughter,” and is blessed with healing and peace.

Her world is changed and so is ours.  When we look at this scene from the stage of scripture, we see that someone so worn and weary, so weak, remained hopeful, and that hope provided the strength, healing, and peace she needed.

Sometimes a strand of hope is found in the corners of our souls. Sometimes it’s found in the prayers we cry out or in the tears we shed on our pillows at night.

And sometimes … sometimes hope is found in the place where we are quiet, believing that God is God and we are not … and we just reach our hand out, acting on that hope … believing in the only One who can save us.

Hope leads to faith.  Faith is the belief that God will help.  That hope finds its way to the answers.  That what was once horrific will now be restored, renewed, redeemed.  What was once broken will be healed.  And life will be better.

Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”