The Beauty Of Wholeness
by Sharon Jaynes
“Gone. All gone.”
For twelve long years, she had been bleeding. Over 4,380 days. Lydia had gone from doctor to doctor to try and stop the flow, but as the years progressed she only worsen. Each day was a reminder of the emptiness she felt as her very life ebbed from her body.
“I’ve lost my family, my friends, my energy and now all my money,” Lydia lamented. “My very womanhood, the ability to conceive and bear children leaves me a barren wasteland. And the pain? The constant cramping is unbearable.
“’Unclean. That’s what the priests say I am. No one is supposed to even touch me. Oh how I long for a human touch. A hug. A kiss. A pat on the back. A baby’s cheek against my own.”
“Oh God,” Lydia prayed. “There is nothing else for me to do. I’ve tried everything. Only a miracle will set me free from this life of broken isolation.”
God smiled down at his daughter and noticed her name on Jesus’ celestial day-timer. Today was the day.
It is hard for us twenty-first century readers to imagine bleeding physically for twelve long years as the woman described in Mark chapter 5, and yet, we still bleed. Sarah remembers her step-father creeping into her bedroom when she was six-years-old, and her heart bleeds. Beth remembers a rapist jumping from behind the bushes as she walked across her college campus, and her heart bleeds. Lucy recalls an email on her husband’s computer that led to a trail of betrayal and deceit, and her heart bleeds. Sue hears the silent cries of her aborted child, and her heart bleeds. Women—hoping the pain will go away, but awakening each day with a memory that cuts a fresh wound.
The woman with the issue of blood was no different from you and me. While her apparent illness was physical, her inward suffering ruled her life. She was defined by what was wrong with her, rather than what was right. But in one radical moment, one momentous decision, she reached out to Jesus and grabbed hold of her healing. Immediately, she felt a surge of power flow through her body and the flow of blood come to a halt.
She knew it. She felt it. The flow stopped…and then Jesus stopped.
“Who just touched my clothes?” Jesus asked.
The woman kept her eyes fixed to the ground as a jumble of thoughts scrambled through her mind. She wanted to run, but her feet were suddenly rooted to the ground.
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
Jesus ignored the disciples’ comments and continued panning the crowd in search of the person who had purposely touched his robe. He felt the power leave his body like a current. He knew what had happened. Jesus can always sense the difference between the press of the curious and the touch of the faithful.
Silence hung like a low lying cloud. No one said a word.
Finally, she couldn’t hold it in any longer. The woman turned to Jesus and fell at his feet. With trembling voice, a geyser of gratitude and confession gushed forth. “It was me,” she cried. After explaining the reason for her daring move, Jesus gently touched her cheek and assured her.
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Oh how I love this story! What woman among us hasn’t felt the wretchedness of rejection, the shame of suffering, and the humility of hopelessness? What woman hasn’t wondered, would God care about the likes of me? And here we have a story of just how much God values and esteems His female image bearers. He singled out one lone woman from a multitude of curious bystanders, healed her of her affliction, and then called her center stage to testify of the miraculous transformation.
While all her family members may have deserted her, her heavenly Father, reached out, drew her near, and called her “daughter.” It was a term of endearment she would not soon forget.
The word “healed” that Jesus used here is the same Greek word that means “saved.” Jesus did more than heal her body. He saved her soul, removed her shame and re-established her place in the community. As with this particular woman and the others we meet in the gospels who encountered Jesus, he viewed their needs as portals through which deeper spiritual needs might be met. His miraculous healings were the chain cutters that set women free from physical, emotional, and spiritual disease to physical, emotional and spiritual health.
I suspect this particular woman never looked more radiant than she did at that very moment. That is the beauty of wholeness—a beauty He offers to each and every one of us, His daughters.
Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and the author of several books, including her latest release, What God Really Thinks About Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered.