Have you ever had an issue that has defined you? Something that has hindered you and sapped your life of its strength? Perhaps a habit or addiction has stolen your identity, damaged your relationships, wounded your family, drained your finances, crushed your hope, dreams and aspirations… or made you feel powerless and insignificant.
Can I just encourage you today with a look at one of the most famous “issues” in the bible – the account of the woman with the “issue of blood” found in Mark 5:22-36. Her chronic menstrual hemorrhage, possibly ovarian or cervical cancer, had caused turmoil in her life for years. Because of the requirements of Mosaic Law, she was treated as “unclean” until the hemorrhage stopped, and was forced to stay away from her family and other people. The issue also swallowed up her finances in her desperate attempt to get well, but she only got worse.
“She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse” (Mark 5:26).
Nobody could be around her and she couldn’t be around anyone. In fact, if she was caught around people, she would have to pay with her life.
“Suffered” here is from the Greek word pas’-kho, which describes not just physical suffering, but suffering in mind and emotion. You might say it’s suffering that pushes someone to the verge of a mental breakdown. Her life, her actions, her thoughts all revolved around her issue of blood.
But what makes her story one of victory instead of defeat is the fact that her desperation fueled her tenacity, which ignited her faith. And even though we are never told her name, she stands for all time as an example of how we too, can “stop the bleeding” in our lives caused by our chronic, destructive issues. The devil is a liar, and you CAN be free. Let’s look at three lessons her experience can teach us:
1. You Must Want It Enough, You’ll Pay the Price
On some level, we all wish for God to intervene in our lives in any number of areas. However, there is a difference between wishing God would intervene and wanting God to intervene. Wanting is far deeper; it’s something that requires a much greater personal investment. Simply put, it’s the spiritual price you are willing to pay for results.
The disciples once asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast a demon out of a child and Jesus said, “this kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Translation: you must pay the price required for the thing you want.
We see another example of this principle with the story of the rich young ruler who was very rich, but who apparently felt empty or incomplete (Matthew 19:16-29). He came to Jesus and asked Him, in essence, “How can I get rid of this emptiness inside?”
How can I stop this emptiness…this bleeding of my heart?
And what was His response? Jesus said, “Go, and sell everything you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.” Translation: you must pay the price required for the peace you desire.
The woman with the issue of blood proved she wanted to be healed. She was willing to spend every dime she had. She was willing to risk her life moving through a packed crowd. She was willing to defy every obstacle in order to stop the bleeding.
What is her lesson to us? You’ve got to want it bad enough you’ll pay the price required.
2. You’ve Got to Make the Decision to Get to Jesus
Jesus was healthy and walking; she was hemorrhaging and crawling, but she still got to him. Jesus was surrounded and protected by the people around Him; she was ostracized and despised – but still, she got to Him.
Have you noticed, that in most miracles in the Bible, when God healed someone, Jesus went to the victim. But in this woman’s case, Jesus was moving away from her. Still, she got to Him.
She made the decision to get to Jesus, no matter what. In order to get healed from your issue, you must also make a decision to get to Jesus.
What is standing in your way? Decide to get to Jesus, no matter what. Make the decision to cut ties with every weight that is standing between you and Jesus. Is it a toxic relationship? Is it an avenue of escape? Is it a fleeting pleasure? Make the decision to crawl toward Jesus, even if you feel like He’s walking away from you. Crawl to your prayer closet. Crack the pages of your Bible, often. Lift your voice in praise, because God inhabits the praises of His people.
If you feel like He’s walking away from you, begin to walk a different walk. Walk the walk of righteousness, the walk of godliness, the walk of becoming separate from the world and being holy, even as He is holy.
Start evaluating everything in your life by asking yourself the question does this take me closer to Jesus or further away?
If you want God to intervene and stop the bleeding, you must make the decision to get to Jesus – no matter what the cost and what obstacle must be overcome.
3. You’ve Got to Say It
“For she said, ‘If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well’” (Mark 5:28).
There is simply no denying it – what we say when we are bleeding from our issue has a tremendous influence on whether or not we see God stop the bleeding. Jesus Himself pointed out the importance of our words in tandem with the exercise of our faith:
“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says’” (Mark 11:23-24).
Jesus said our words matter – a lot. In fact, if we speak pure, faith-filled words, He will back us up. The Psalmist agrees:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).
When you really catch hold of this revelation, you’ll be able to trust God to stop the bleeding in every area of your life! So, if we want to see God stop the bleeding, we’ve got to say what God says about our “issue.”
Don’t waste time saying what the circumstances around you are saying; rather say what God says about the circumstances. Never say, “there is no hope,” but say, “with God all things are possible!”
Never say, “We are going down!” but say, “We shall live and not die, and declare the glory of God!”
Never say, “My better days are behind me,” but say, “God says my future is bright and my path gets brighter and brighter!”
No, the enemy is NOT too strong, NOT too tough, NOT too powerful, but “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” God is on our side, and if God be for us who can be against us? We are not weak, but rather “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!” Say what God says. It’s the way faith works!
“Let the weak say, ‘I am strong’” (Joel 3:10).
So what are you saying? If you are bleeding out, if your issue is getting worse, you must begin saying what God says about your situation.
Some of us have been bleeding for much longer than necessary! The devil is a liar and God’s word to you is revelation that your issue can be healed today. If you want healing, get to Jesus, and partner with Him to speak His word in faith. It’s ultimately how the woman received her healing.
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction” (Mark 5:34).
The Word of God promises that when you align with God, you’ll begin to get your joy back, your peace back, your hope back, your dreams back, your identity back, your important relationships restored – it’s the revelation you need to see Him stop the bleeding!