“Jesus is a God of Miracles.” I love this phrase from a song by Shawna Edwards called “The Miracle” (above). There are so many miracles documented in the Bible. The song details many of those miracles.
A while ago I thought of the woman with the issue of blood. I relate to her because she had health problems and spent money and time and hope on doctors for many, many years. (Sometimes doctors really can help. But sometimes they can’t. I’ve had more of the latter with my chronic health issues.)
But I had another insight on that story that comes from the many hours I spent years ago trying to learn more about ancient temple ordinances. Blood was highly symbolic, and one of the things it symbolized was the blood of the Lamb of God. Blood also symbolized life.
Why was that shed? For sin. Blood can symbolize the price — the symbolic weight, if you will — of sin AND of everything else we are weighed down by, stained by, affected by, afflicted by. He suffered it all.
What got me thinking about this in a different way was actually the word “issue.” As a mortal, I have a lot of “issues.” Yes, I know that the word “issue” in the Biblical story means something different from that contemporary, colloquial usage. But I love how the Lord can use words to catch my attention. As I pondered that word, and the symbolic meaning of blood as it relates to the Atonement, I started thinking more symbolically about myself as that woman with an issue in her life. Not just because I have health issues, but because I am stained by so many issues, pain and fear and anger and weakness and insecurity and sin and yet unfulfilled dreams (such as not being able to have more children because of my health issues).
In all that this woman did, she “was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,”
Her issue was not just physical, although that facet was real. She suffered also at the hands of physicians (it’s so hard to feel dependent on mortals for help they ultimately cannot give!) But beyond that, because of her issue, she was rejected by society. She was unable to worship. She was unable to be touched, loved, nurtured in ways that humans need. Others ran from her because she was ‘unclean.’ For something she had no personal control over — for something that came just because she was mortal, human — she was rejected and labeled as unclean. She had no money, so she was poor in both spirit and temporal needs. She was stained in every way. And she’d been carrying all of this for 12 years.
I think of what it must have meant to feel the issue dry up in her. I almost imagine her garments being washed clean in that moment as well, although perhaps it was not quite that extensive. Perhaps she still had work to do to really be clean in visible ways. But nothing else she had done had worked. The only thing she could do was finally reach in the simplest, quietest way to the Savior.
Again, she, a woman, an unclean woman, was then addressed directly by the Savior of the World. I imagine in a sense the multitude faded in that moment and it was just the two of them. Societal norms regarding women, and the law’s limits regarding her issues, meant nothing to Him. All that mattered was this daughter of God, her faith, and the Savior’s love and willingness to heal her (which meant the Father was willing to heal her, because the Savior did nothing without it being according to His Father’s will).
And he didn’t just to heal her; He made her whole. I love it when both words are used. I have to believe there may be some meaning in that, such as with the ten lepers. The ten were healed, but the one who came back to thank the Lord, to worship Him, was made whole. Again, there is that element of that personal experience with the Savior that changes everything.
I believe to some extent we are all that woman. We are all that leper. We are the blind man, the sick, the lame, the outcast in some way. We may not have committed adultery, but we all sin, and if we have committed serious sin, just as the woman taken in adultery, the Savior doesn’t condemn but invites us to a better way of living.
We all need Christ. Whatever our issue, He can help us if we will reach out in faith for that help. He is willing to help us be cleansed, healed, and made whole through His power and grace.
“God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.” – The Living Christ (a testimony of latter-day apostles of Jesus Christ)