Have you ever wanted something so badly you could taste it? How badly would your faith be shaken if you didn’t receive it in one, five or twelve years? In the story of the Bleeding Woman (Luke 8:43-48), we see an example of a woman who was determined to get what she wanted.
Backstory of the Bleeding Woman
“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.” Luke 8:43
All we know about this woman is that she had been suffering for 12 years before Jesus came to the scene. If you have a loved one who has been suffering from a terrible illness for which the doctors have not found a cure, or for which certain medications/surgery would not be an option because of comorbid conditions, you know the frustration of hopelessness and despair. Yet the woman did not give up hope.
Amidst the crowds, Jesus felt her desperation.
The woman didn’t just desire to be healed. She was desperate to be healed! When Jesus came, she was so determined to meet him because she knew in her heart of hearts that He was the only one who could heal her. Nothing was going to stop her – no sardine-packed crowd, no doubt, no hesitation, no one’s opinion – she was adamant about getting through to Jesus for His healing power. Amidst the crowd that was packed so tightly that no one could breathe, this woman reached out and her faith made Jesus turn His head.
The difference between desire and desperation is determination.
When you’re desperate for something, there’s a sense of urgency that propels you toward your goal. The crowds who surrounded Jesus wanted to meet Him, so they followed Him wherever He went, but this woman cut through the masses and made Jesus notice her. They say that the difference between a winner and a loser is one’s character that will carry one through. Why does one achieve his goal while the other one doesn’t? Character.
3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
You achieve character first through suffering, then perseverance, and then you get hope from the character that’s forged within you.
“A sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” – Proverbs 13:4
Waiting is part of that diligence. But what about faith?
Without faith, people give up, and therefore they allow their character to soften instead of fervently relying on God. How long will you wait before you receive the desire of your heart?
I cannot even fathom what it’s like to be in the Bleeding Woman’s shoes, but I do know what it’s like to wait for something forever and never receiving it. Oftentimes I wonder if I should just give up and chalk it up to “It’s not God’s will,” but if the Bleeding Woman caved into that kind of thinking, she would have never gone after Jesus because she would have believed that Jesus never wanted to heal her.
Twelve years is an awfully long time to wait for something. You don’t know the future; you can only hope for the best. I wonder how many times this woman felt like giving up. Will a miracle ever turn up? Will the suffering ever stop? Waiting year after year, waiting in the dark, not knowing the future – that does something to your soul. In my despair, many times I have “surrendered” my desires to God with a hint of unbelief.
Will you surrender your desire to God with a spirit of resignation, or will you, like the Bleeding Woman, fight with urgency and desperation to get God’s attention?
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