Monday, May 20, 2013

Step one in my plan to see how much I can improve my health

Seeking God
Can you identify with the woman described in this incident from Christ's life on earth?

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Mark 5: 24-34
Doctors are great, but they don't have all of the answers.  Ultimately, Jesus is the only one who does.  Sometimes, he heals us; sometimes, he gives us strength to endure.  Always, he works good in our situation, as we read in Romans 8.      

Jesus suffered in many ways, most especially upon the cross.  Because of that, we can approach him with confidence that he will understand our pain and have compassion for us.
 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.  Hebrews 4:15
I love the compassion that Jesus had for the woman whose story is told in Mark 5.  He was on his way to help with what seemed to be a more urgent matter -- a little girl was ill to the point of dying. There was a crowd of people around him, pressing on him.  A distressed father was by his side.  His disciples were asking how he could focus on one person touching him when a whole crowd of people were jostling about him.  Jesus could have felt pressured by the tumultuous surroundings to to know that someone had touched him and had been physically healed and to just pass on by for the child's sake. On my own little level, I have been in situations where several people or several things needed my attention at once, and I just felt flustered. Christ, on the other hand, had the poise to stop and calmly tend to the remaining needs of the person who had touched him.  He put aside the pressure of the crowds, his disciples, and the worried father in order to give her a few moments of his full attention.

From the woman's point of view, she had bounced around from doctor to doctor, giving them all of her money in exchange for treatments that hadn't worked.  Who knows how she might have gotten her hope of recovery up time and time again, only to be dashed.  Perhaps, some of the doctors believed that the cures they offered would help; perhaps, some of them took advantage of her desperation by knowingly selling her a quack cure.  We don't know.  We do know that her condition rendered her unclean in her society.  By touching a person, she might have even rendered that person unclean for the day.  Thus, she probably felt that she had no right to call out to Jesus loudly for help.  She may not even have wanted to call attention to herself or to what might be an embarrassing condition.  Yet, she believed that if she could just touch Christ's cloak she would be healed, and her faith was rewarded, for she was immediately made well.  For the first time, her touch did not render someone else unclean for a day.  Instead, the power of Jesus in the exchange made her clean and whole. 

Instead of saying, "Oh well, someone's been healed.  That person's ok for now.  Let me hurry to the child's bedside," Jesus stopped.  He knew that whoever had touched him needed more than just a physical cure.  This person needed Jesus' personal attention and love.  She also needed to be restored to the community as a well and whole woman.  He searched for the person who had touched him.

The woman came trembling to Jesus, and she told the truth that she had been the one to receive his healing power.   Sometimes, talking out what is in our hearts is as healing for us as any physical cure might be.

Jesus spoke tenderly to her and called her "daughter".  He recognized her as a person instead of just an anonymous face in the crowd.  He said that her faith had healed her.  He sent her away in peace and freed her from her suffering.  He publicly pronounced her well and clean and approved her faith, which would go a long way in healing not only her private situation but her relationships.  He met not only her physical needs, but her spiritual and emotional needs, as well.  In effect, he gave her shalom, which is wholeness, peace, and well-being in every area. 

As Jesus was then, he is now.  Whatever we are going through, he had compassion for us.  We are not just  anonymous faces to him; he knows each of us better than we even know ourselves.  He knows what we need.  He gives us grace, mercy, and strength.  What a Savior!

Because he gives us such mercy and love, we, in turn, can focus on loving others.  Sometimes, our Hashimoto's may mean that we don't have as much energy to serve others as we might like.  We can usually pray for others, though, or make a phone call or do at least something to let others know that we care.  Loving God and others gives our life a meaning that transcends any physical illness.  It reminds us that we were so much more than our disease.

I've found that becoming too focused on my symptoms only makes me anxious, sad, or frustrated.  Keeping my life fully centered on God lifts me out of that.  Loving God and others gives our lives a meaning that transcends any physical illness.  It reminds us that we were so much more than our disease!




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