Tuesday, June 21, 2016

First Observe, Then Serve: Woman With an Issue of Blood

Welcome back to another post in my "First Observe, Then Serve" series.  To participate in this online discussion, please see my first post of this series with all the information on what to expect over the next four weeks!  Feel free to join our Facebook group, as well, where people from all walks of life are joining the conversation.

I feel the need to preface this week's post with a semi-warning.  This topic is incredibly sensitive for me and this story completely pertinent to my life.  While I have never gone for years bleeding, I have had the experience of bleeding for months on end (and heavily, not like spotting), and so this story is close to my heart.  Because of this, I may or may not make sense for the rest of the post, due to crying and being overly emotional.  I apologize in advance.

This story is actually what gave me the idea for this blog series.  It can be found in Mark chapter 5.  
Before we start the story, I want to give a bit of background about this woman and her real predicament.  I know personally how weak you become when you bleed for an extended amount of time.  I cannot imagine having this go on for 10 years.  The longest I have had to deal with this was three months, and it was horrible.  There are some days that are ok, but there are a lot of days where you are so weak, you literally cannot take care of yourself.  You feel worthless and useless.  You need help, and you need it for an extended amount of time.  It's hard to find people willing to do that.

On top of this issue, this woman lived at a time where the Jews were living the Law of Moses.  Not only was this woman physically confined to her home, but she was also considered unclean.  Anyone who was willing to help her would also be considered unclean, and would have to go through cleansing rituals before they would be allowed to join daily life again.  Because of these issues, I'm sure this woman was very lonely.  I would hope that she had a large safety net of people who were willing to help her out, but I fear that was might not have been the case.  So now, to the story...

Jesus was on His way to heal the daughter of a man who was a ruler in the local synagogue.  It was literally a matter of life and death.  A woman who had been bleeding for 10 years heard that the Savior was coming and knew that if she could just touch His clothing, she would be healed.  She desperately needed to be healed.  She didn't want to bother Him, and knew that He was busy.

Jesus was walking through the crowd, trying to get to the girl who is in need of His help.  He felt someone touch Him and asked who it was.  His apostles were taken aback because it could have been anyone.  They probably were trying to encourage the Lord to get to His destination quickly, but Christ knew that there was someone there who needed His help.

He saw the woman, and she became frightened.  There are a few reasons she was probably afraid.  Firstly, she was not supposed to be out among other people because of her health problems and uncleanness.  Secondly, the fact that she touched the Savior meant that He would be considered unclean according to the Law of Moses and might not be able to go and help the other girl who needed Him.  This might possibly make Him angry.  

But, of course, Jesus was not angry.  He says to this woman, who had been suffering for so long, "...go in peace, and be whole..."  I can only imagine the joy that this woman felt hearing those words.  Knowing that her faith was placed in the right person who would help her at the right time--there is no better feeling.

We live in a world where the Savior is not able to be here to help us physically each day.  He relies on us.  So what can we learn from this story?  The first thing I see is that we should always act by the Spirit.  If we are going about our lives doing things and feel that we really need to call someone or go visit someone, DO IT.  Don't wait.  Do it immediately.

Next, remember that all people are important to the Lord.  Even though Jesus was on His was to serve a leader of the synagogue, He stopped to help a woman that was considered unclean and unworthy to be among the crowd.  There are no unimportant people in this world.  Nobody deserves more or less service based on any type of criteria.

Thirdly, we have to be so in tune with the Spirit to see the little acts of reaching out sometimes.  What could the touching of someone's clothing in a crowd amount to in your daily life?  For me it has been a scowl and unfriendly word, a sad smile accompanied by an "I'm ok!", and even just a feeling that something wasn't quite right.  It is so hard to get rid of the noise of the world and look past what we think others SHOULD do to ask for help so that we can see what they DO say or do instead.  Like I've said before, we cannot judge the people we serve.  This includes not judging the way they ask for help.
That is all I have for you today, friends.  I hope you share your impressions about this story with me!  What do you see in this story about the need to observe, then serve?  I can't wait to hear your thoughts!  Feel free to email me, comment below, or join our Facebook group.  Do what you are comfortable with!  I'll be back next Tuesday with the next story in this series.  Until then, HUGS and prayers sent your way! :)

P.S.: Please make sure that you keep all comments uplifting and kind.  Assume the best of each other and read all comments in a positive manner.  I truly believe that anyone commenting is only seeking to be understood and heard, not offend. :)

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