There is a story in the Bible about a woman who spent 12 years of her life suffering from an inexplicable disorder that caused her to hemorrhage. Mark 5:25-34 details her ordeal–years of doctors, medicines, holistic remedies and most likely, desperation. Verse 26 says that she’d “endured much at the hands of many physicians and had spent all she had…but had grown worse.”
Could you imagine what it would be like to live 12 years suffering from a constant hemorrhage? I can’t. I mean, let’s be honest, I can barely stand having a cold for a few days. She must have been so weak, probably not able to do much on her own. Not to mention the psychological effects of the social stigma of being considered an “unclean” person.
I picture this woman searching tirelessly for remedies. Maybe having her hopes raised when she would go to a doctor who promised her a cure. Having people tell her about a new remedy that would be sure to heal her situation. I could also imagine her utter disappointment, frustration and despair when nothing worked. Doctor after doctor telling her this or that, health experts, family remedies, etc. and yet nothing changed for the better. In fact, the passage states that she’d only grown worse. I imagine her thinking to herself each time, maybe this is it? Maybe this is what will fix me?
Then Jesus came along. There was so much chatter about this man, this Rabbi, who had become so well known for performing miracles. A healer. A prophet. The real deal. Jesus. He’d been traveling and healing people. Forgiving them. Freeing them from their afflictions. Giving people with no hope a new lease on life. She, like many people in her time, was determined to meet this man who could very well be the answer she’d been looking for.
Stop and picture it for a minute…Jesus was a sensation. No one had seen anyone like him. Wherever he went, he drew crowds of hundreds and thousands. He preached messages that turned people’s ideology and theology on its head. The last would be first, the least of the these were the greatest. He spoke about loving enemies and turning cheeks. Picture this woman, unclean by Jewish standards–a pariah. Socially she was unqualified, seemingly undignified and certainly undeserving of any particular attention. And yet, here was her chance. This Rabbi who had dinner with tax collectors and had ex-prostitutes as friends….well, just maybe he’d have mercy on someone like her?
And then it happened. Verse 27 says, “after hearing about Jesus, she went up in the crowd behind him and touched his cloak.” I imagine her making her way through the obstacle of the multitude: falling, crawling, pushing and wrestling her way through the roaring crowd, with the sole intention of touching this man whom she knew to be her healer. Consider the intensity of her intention. She had to get to Jesus. She had to, because he was her last hope–her only hope.
What a remarkable moment, right? The story goes on to tell that after all the pushing and her relentless determination, she gets to Jesus and touching his cloak she was healed instantly. Jesus tells her that her faith had made her well. There’s so much at work here, but what always strikes me the most is that there was an interaction of faith–an agreement of sorts–that literally changed the course of her life.
Agreement seems like a strange word to use to describe her act of faith, but “agreement” by definition means: harmony or accordance in opinion; the absence of incompatibility between two things; consistency. You see, this woman had spent a whole lot of her life agreeing with, or in harmony and accordance in opinion with the wrong things, the wrong diagnoses and the wrong healers. That is, until she found the healer, the savior and then actively aligned herself with his truth and by faith received her healing.
Her agreement, her belief and her conviction lead her to act. She didn’t just believe, she pressed, intent on experiencing for herself the things that he said he could do. And what is faith if not taking God at his word? And as faith without works is dead, then what is faith without acting on it, living by it and pressing forward because of it?
Her’s may seem like an extreme case, but I think we find ourselves in similar situations, don’t we? Desperate for relief and seeking answers, we sometimes come into agreement with the wrong things. Thoughts like: I come from a poor family, so I’ll never experience financial health. My mom, her mom and her mom before that, suffered with depression and anxiety; that’s why I’ll always suffer with it, too. I can only attract men with emotional issues, that’s why all my relationships have failed. I’m not worthy. I can’t do better.I can’t have better. In need of an intervention, in need of healing, financial provision, hope, love, peace, inspiration, we search for a remedy everywhere.
Even as Christians, you know, “the people with all the answers” (HA!), we can often find ourselves running down a rabbit hole of faith-sucking thought processes. Thought processes that skew our view of God, our view of ourselves and those around us. Thought processes that, a lot like the woman in our story, leave us depleted and spent, yet in no better shape than when we started. But Romans 12:2 says:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
What does this mean for us? We get to renew our minds by replacing our flawed thoughts with the truth of his word. We get to renew our minds and exercise our faith by aligning our thoughts with his truth, by coming into agreement or harmony with his word. Leaving behind those things that leave us feeling empty, depleted, desperate, and worse off, we get to grab hold of the “hem” of Jesus’s life changing truth.
So, this week, let’s begin to consider our agreements. Where can we be more intentional about believing God’s word over anything else? What does God say about you? What does he say about the situations that you’re in? What does he say about who He is in your life?
Here are just a few Biblical truths that we can start to come into agreement with this week:
-You don’t have to back down or retreat in the face of a challenge or difficulty. You are more than a conqueror. Romans 8:37
-There is no illness or diagnosis he can’t heal. By His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
-You aren’t alone or forgotten. He’s always with you. You are never forsaken. Deuteronomy 31:6
-In times of grief and pain, loneliness and hurt, he comes to our aid. The Holy Spirit is your comforter. John 14:26
-You are worthy. You are seen. You are enough. You are the head and not the tail. Deuteronomy 28:13
-When you feel alone, abandoned or rejected, He is closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
-In moments of anxiety, worry, despair. When you don’t know how you’ll make it through. His peace surpasses all understanding, all reasoning in every situation. Philippians 4:6-7
I believe whole-heartedly that there are agreements that need to be made in every area of our lives. God has said a lot of things concerning you and I. Let’s start agreeing with God on these things, even if it feels like no one else agrees with you for it. Agree with God for your health. Agree with God for your marriage. Agree with God for your children. Agree with God for your financial situation. Agree with God for your family’s salvation. Agree with God for your dreams.
But understand that agreeing is more than a yes, it has to be active. The woman with the issue of blood had to actively push her way through the crowd, through the naysayers, through her physical and emotional fatigue to get to the hem of Christ. For us, that can look like stepping out in faith into something you feel God has called you to–a business venture, an act of generosity, forgiving someone, taking on that new assignment, committing to getting healthier…it can also mean hoping against all hope that he’ll reconcile that relationship, heal that illness, open up doors for that dream job. Truth is, it doesn’t matter what our “issue of blood” is because at the end of the day there is a timeless truth that we can come into agreement with and grab the hem of, and that is that everything we’ll ever need is in Jesus.
So, friends, I just want to encourage today to lean in, press in, push past the obstacles and grab hold of his truth. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond what we can ever hope, dream or imagine–let’s agree with him on that and live like it.