What Will You Risk to Be Free?
"… Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." Mark 5:34b (NIV)
I’d been awake long before the morning sun peered through the shutters of my bedroom window. Now it was time to get up and face the day … and the appointment I made to meet a new friend for lunch.
I was petrified and ashamed, but I knew if I put it off another day I would sink deeper into the depression that was slowly destroying my life and my family.
Tears puddled in my eyes and rolled down my face as I got dressed. This is the end, Pat. This is the day when the truth about who you really are and what you’ve done will be revealed.
Months before, I surrendered my messed up life to Jesus at a local women’s retreat. I heard a message on forgiveness and found myself face down at the altar. I sought and received forgiveness from God that day, but struggled to forgive myself.
Immediately after the retreat I started to attend Bible study classes, which in some ways only led to more distress. Those women all looked so pretty. Their lives seemed flawless and pure. I felt like an outsider and a fraud who was about to be found out.
I had done a fairly good job of hiding my brokenness in my old life, but now women who seemed to know and understand something I did not surrounded me. Even after hearing about Jesus, I felt stuck in a life of hopeless shame.
I was convinced that a face-to-face encounter with someone who knew more about Jesus was my last hope for healing. Something deep inside me recognized something deep inside my friend that I needed. I was willing to risk everything to get it — even potential embarrassment and being shunned by someone I really admired.
I sat at lunch that day and let the tears fall. I told my story. I told her about my immorality, my abortion, my broken family and my broken heart. In my mind’s eye, I saw her get up and walk away without so much as a backward glance.
Instead, my friend listened intently as I laid down my long-held mask. She gave me her undivided attention, she gave me her touch, and then she laid down her own mask and shared some things God had done in her life.
When I confessed how much I feared taking the risk to meet with her, she told me about a woman in the Bible who took a risk to receive healing from an "issue" of her own.
Those words held my attention. A woman with an issue? Yep — that was me!
This woman had a physical issue. The laws of her day left her living with a condition that appalled and disgusted "normal" people. She lived as an outcast — shunned, avoided and alone in her suffering.
The Bible says this woman heard the reports about how Jesus went from town to town, "healing every kind of disease and sickness" (Matthew 9:35, NIV). In fact, she surely had heard the news that Jesus was on His way to heal the daughter of one of the synagogue leaders.
Despite the crowds, the woman with the "issue" went. She didn’t know if people would recognize her and recoil, or if they would warn Jesus about her before she could get close enough to see Him. But she risked all of that to go to Him. She stood among the crowd and told Jesus her issue. And on that day she heard the words that freed her, "Daughter, … Go in peace and be freed from your suffering" (Mark 5:34b).
I thank God for my friend pointing me to Jesus. I honestly didn’t know the Bible held stories of women who felt filthy or rejected. I didn’t know there were women who were stuck in shame, fear or feelings of unworthiness.
Just like me.
I had no idea taking the risk to share my story would lead to my healing, and my future life in ministry — walking other women, hand-in-hand, to Jesus.
What about you?
Every one of us has an "issue" that needs Jesus’ healing touch. Will you go to Jesus and risk it all to be free?
Lord, thank You for Your promise that we can be freed from our suffering. Help me take a risk toward all You have for me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 139:1b, "… O LORD you have searched me and known me!" (ESV)
John 10:10b, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (ESV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What "issue" or issues do you need to take to Jesus today?
If God has freed you from suffering in a particular area, pray and ask Him if there is someone with whom you should risk sharing your story so she, too, might come to know His freeing power.