The Woman Who Interrupts (Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48)

June 23rd, 2017 by phall

There is a woman who interrupts another story. This “interruption” is real in the sense of historically accurate; but it is also symbolic (at least to me). Sometimes interruptions are annoying, and other times life-changing.

Jesus is approached by a leader in the synagogue; an important man. She is not important, at least as viewed by most. The leader’s daughter is dying. Again that is more serious than this woman’s issue who interrupts; except maybe to her. As selfish as that sounds, that is the reality for all of us. OUR problems are not necessarily bigger or smaller than others, they are OURS. The closer we are to anything the more intense it is.

The story that interrupts is Jesus healing the bleeding woman (or “woman with an issue of blood” and other variants) (Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48). Her bleeding issue was not only physical, but social and spiritual as it caused her under Mosaical law to be unclean. Mark even adds she had spent everything she had on the doctors to no avail (5:26). Can you imagine the emotional pain all of this inflicted upon her? Let’s count the ways again: 12 years of chronic health problems; 12 years of socially being unaccepted; 12 years of not being able to attend religious services; 12 years of running through her finances; 12 years of all of this weighing on her mind.

No wonder she was desperate enough to believe! “If I can just touch His robes I’ll be made well!” (Mark 5:28) Belief, which is acting trust, is often the oxygen of the desperate.

So what is your “issue”? What is interrupting your goals, happiness, or peace of mind? 1. Health; 2. Family problems; 3. Job status; 4. (Lack of) Marital problems; 5. Aging – finding their purpose; 6. All of the above?; 7. Combination of the above? 8. Something too private to share? 9. Something you are unwilling to even admit to yourself?

Let me just add a personal note here. Let me share with you that my back pain is more than just physical pain. There is the realization of how much I have lost in time the last several years. There is the wondering of whether or not I will ever get pain free. There is the possibility that I will never again be able to do things I once enjoyed. All of these play on my mind. Chronic physical pain leads to Chronic emotional pain.

Going back to the woman, almost all of her issues were taken away. Almost. There is no indication Jesus filled up again her bank account! Plus, she will never get back those 12 years of life and all the joys that fill one’s life. Twelve years gone. Just that is enough to drive some to depression.

So what about us? Are we still waiting for these interruptions of life to become non-issues? Here is where my answers might not be as comforting as much as the comfort this unnamed lady received. Strangely, admitting that brings some comfort.

First, take comfort that Jesus took time for her and did not consider her an unimportant interruption. Second, take comfort in that the parables are more than indications of divine compassion. Miracles, signs, and wonders are real-life parables. The word for “well” (Mark 5:28) is sozo. It is the same word used for “save.” The parables shine the light on a greater “healing,” an eternal solution to life’s issues and interruptions.

So what about us? Sadly we might have to live a life filled with less than we want; even if we want it for God’s glory. What we can do is: 1) Find ways to glorify God in the conditions we are in. This must be even if it is a lifetime of blindness, blind for the glory of God to heal (John 9:1-3). 2) Glory in the reality that sin is not longer interrupting your relationship with God. Spiritually, you have been made well. 3) Finally, give thanks to God that he is always willing to be “interrupted” so that you may “touch” God’s ear in prayer. 4) Acceptance is realizing God’s grace is enough (2 Corinthians 12:9). Contextually that grace is for Paul the grace of his apostleship. For us it is the acceptance that God’s grace – our position in His kingdom – is enough. It is enough that God lets us serve God. That is a needed interruption in this world of sin. God using us might be enough for someone to reach out in desperation for spiritual healing.

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