Tuesday, September 23, 2014
WOMAN OF COURAGE
There is an amazing story in the Bible of an UNNAMED WOMAN
Jesus went with him (speaking of Jairus), and all the people followed, crowding around him. 25. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29. Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. 30. Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” 31. His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”32. But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
If this happened in today’s society, can you imagine how the social media would have lit up and all the hashtags she would have tweeted? In fact, Girlfriends, I have seen some of your hashtags, and I think this woman could have you beat.
By the law of Moses, this woman was not allowed to touch anyone. The law demanded that a woman suffering in this way should be segregated. For twelve years this woman had been excommunicated from every religious place of assembly; she was shut out from her family, and ostracized by society. She had endured incurable illness, social isolation, constant pain, financial poverty, and personal humiliation.
One day she heard that Jesus was coming to her village and SHE WAS DESPERATE. Have you ever been there? Desperate enough that you would do whatever it took to get some relief from the pain, whether physical or mental.
Although this woman is often referred to as the “woman with the issue of blood,” I would rather refer to her as the WOMAN OF COURAGE.
Can you imagine what it took for her to even be in public? After all, anything or anyone with whom she came in contact would also become unclean. She had lived with the stigma of her condition for twelve LONG YEARS.
Then one day, THIS WOMAN LEARNED ABOUT JESUS. I don’t know how she heard about Him. ALL we know is that SHE BELIEVED with all of her heart that Jesus could heal her. So, as Jesus made his way through a LARGE CROWD, this woman began making her way towards Him.
Although she probably hoped to be able to slip away unnoticed, Jesus immediately knew that someone had touched Him. Jesus still knows today who reaches out to touch Him! Even though the crowd was all around Him, touching Him, He stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” Jesus did not ask that question for his own benefit, He is the Son of God, but he asked for her sake and for the sake of the crowd.
If she had gone away without a further word, she might have believed that there was some magic power in His clothing. He wanted to assure her that it was her FAITH IN HIM THAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE.
Another word for “faith” is “trust.” THIS WOMAN WAS HEALED BY THE SIMPLE FACT THAT SHE TRUSTED JESUS!
On December 16, 2010, I was diagnosed with throat cancer. I had no warning signs; I did not fit any of the profiles for the type cancer with which I was diagnosed. I DID NOT UNDERSTAND!
I remember sitting on the couch after receiving the diagnosis, crying my heart out to God saying, “I DON’T UNDERSTAND.” I was devastated! I was DESPERATE. As I sat there in my despair, I began to quote the scripture, Proverbs 3:5 and 6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, but in all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” When I was finally able to say, “I DON’T UNDERSTAND, GOD, BUT I WILL TRUST YOU,” that is when the TRUSTING JOURNEY THROUGH CANCER began. The doctors tried to prepare me for the journey ahead, but nothing could prepare me for the intensity or how debilitating the treatment would be. I laugh and tell everyone that I lost my hair, I lost my voice, and I lost an extreme amount of weight.
TODAY, I have my hair, I have my voice, and it is none of your business how much I weigh!!
However, during the very dark and difficult days, there was a particular song by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir called “He’s Been Faithful” that inspired me. When I would get anxious, fearful, or even when I would have trouble eating and swallowing was extremely difficult, my family knew that this song would wrap me in a comforting blanket and would bring calm to my spirit.
Some of the words say; “In my moments of fear, through every pain and every tear, THERE’S A GOD WHO’S BEEN FAITHFUL TO ME. When my strength was all gone, when my heart had no song, still in love He’s proved faithful to me. Every word He’s promised is true, what I thought was impossible I’ve seen my God do. HE’S BEEN FAITHFUL, FAITHFUL TO ME, looking back His love and mercy I see.”
I would listen to that song over and over and over again. One particular day, when my baby sister, Fara, was sitting with me, listening to “HE’S BEEN FAITHFUL,” I drifted off to sleep. I remember waking up, and she was sitting on the couch crying. I looked at her, and although I had no voice, I whispered, “NO FARA. NO CRYING.” She pointed her finger at me and said, “DEBBIE, when you are WELL, we are going to go hear the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing in person!” IN THAT MOMENT, something sprang in my heart – HOPE. WHEN I AM WELL, we are going to go hear the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.
Days, weeks, and months passed. My recovery was slow. My strength and stamina was slow to return. Fara would call ever so often and say, “ARE YOU READY TO GO TO BROOKLYN?” She kept HOPE alive in my Spirit. I would say, “YES, when I am well we are going to go.”
FINALLY, last September, she asked, and I said, “YES, LET’S PLAN TO GO IN THE SPRING!” That’s all she needed to hear. My sisters, Deatra and Fara, and I began to make our plans to go to Brooklyn, New York.
We made all of the necessary arrangements, and then one day Deatra said, “Debbie, have you called to make sure the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir will be singing on the weekend that we are there?” I almost panicked! I HAD NOT!!
So I quickly sent an email, and said, “My sisters and I are going to be in Brooklyn on April 27. In which service will the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir be singing? I am a cancer survivor, and their music has inspired me.” A few weeks later, I received a call from the Brooklyn Tabernacle. The lady inquired about how the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir had been a blessing to me and asked that I send a written testimony to them about my TRUSTING Journey so that it could be shared with the Choir. She then informed me that the choir would be in both the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., and asked which service I wanted to attend. I quickly replied, “BOTH”.
As our conversation came to an end, she said, “Debbie, we will have reserved seats for you and your sisters in both services.” I was beyond excited!
SO ON APRIL 27, bright and early, Dee, Fara, and I began to navigate our way on the subway from Times Square in Manhattan to Brooklyn. That is a whole different story for another time. Definitely entertaining! When we arrived at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, we were graciously escorted to our reserved seating, right in the front of the sanctuary.
We sat down, and I began to soak in the moment I had HOPED for! When the organ hit those familiar chords that identifies the magnificent music of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, the tears began to stream down my face and FARA’S words came back to me, “DEBBIE, WHEN YOU ARE WELL, we are going to go hear the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir in person.” Through tears streaming down my face, I began to say, “I AM WELL………….I AM WELL………………I AM WELL!”
That day in December 2010 as I was sitting on the couch, HOPE SPRANG UP IN MY HEART, and I reached out to touch the hem of His garment and I have been made whole. I AM WELL!
We didn’t just stay for the 1st and 2nd services; we also stayed for the 3rd service. We walked into the Tabernacle at 8:30 a.m. and walked out of it at 5:30 p.m. with GRATEFUL HEARTS!
Perhaps as you have read this article, HOPE has sprung up in your heart!
I want you to know that Jesus loves you as if you were the one and only person in the universe to love. HE HEARS YOU as if you are the only one speaking to Him. EVERYTHING THAT TOUCHES YOU touches Him.
If it is pain, then He feels the pain.
If it is sorrow, then He feels the sorrow
If it is rejection, then He feels the rejection.
If it is loss, then He feels the loss
If it is failure, then He feels the failure.
WHATEVER it is that hurts you, HE FEELS IT.
IF IT TOUCHES YOU, IT TOUCHES HIM.
This woman was UNNAMED in the Bible, BUT TODAY, this woman’s name could be yours. REACH OUT AND TOUCH JESUS.
This UNNAMED woman was brave and honest. She was a WOMAN OF COURAGE! Be courageous and admit your need for Jesus.