Do you want to see a breakthrough in your life? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by a weakness in your personal life, in relationships, in your health or in what seems to be a constant barrage of what some may call “bad luck?” Does one thing happen after another, until you feel pulled underneath ocean waves, tossed about and unable to get your head above water to catch one precious breath of air?
This struggling may feel like trying to get a hold of Jesus, like the woman who suffered from a bleeding condition for 12 years. This precious woman sought help from doctors and from everything the world had to offer, but she only got worse.
I have heard many references to this story over the decades. Usually the telling of the story goes something like this, “If we are just willing to touch only the hem of Jesus’ garment, we can be healed.” In other words, I hear the that most people identify with the woman’s humility, brokenness and great need. They identify with Jesus feeling so far away that they somehow need to reach out and can only grasp a thread of his garment. It is almost as if there is a small chance that there is healing available.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the Spirit of the living God alive and well inside of us. Jesus is not far away, in a crowd where we cannot reach him. His resurrection power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, is our inheritance, living in us by the Spirit that seals us. But, we somehow feel that our hope is hidden far away and we are unworthy.
So, what about the woman with, as it says in the KJV, “the issue of blood?” The woman was persuaded that if she reached Jesus, she would be healed. Let’s read this passage together.
Mark 5:24 NIVUK “So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed round him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.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.When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned round in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’
‘You see the people crowding against you,’ his disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, “Who touched me?”’
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’”
In the same way that the widow had to push through a crowd of people, there are many things in our lives that try to separate us from Jesus. Notice I said try. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
But, those fears, those doubts, those circumstances can many times make Jesus feel so very far away. The woman had grown tired. She had exhausted every avenue after hopeless avenue in despair. Suddenly, nothing, not even her fears of what people would think, or her dizzy spells from the bleeding, or the pushing and shoving of the people who were trying to get to Jesus first could stop her pursuit.
Over and over again it says in the scriptures that faith is how we relate to the Lord. In the Greek, the word for faith is pistis. It means persuasion. The Spirit of God persuades us and encourages us to believe and to act – to lay hold of what God has for us in Christ Jesus. This persuasion moves us and moves God. God promises throughout the scripture that our faith is what saves us, heals us, and moves mountains.
This woman, was unafraid to face the crowd. Or maybe she was afraid, but was tired of her fears defining her and controlling her life? Her faith persuaded her to move past each person who was shouting and squeezing out the others, trying to reach Jesus. Yet, she pressed forward. When she touched Jesus, the scriptures says that Jesus “perceived” that power had gone out of him. This word in the Greek is the same word that we study in our scripture prayer in Revealed in Ephesians~ The Mystery of Who I Am in Christ (See https://briananei.com for more information.) . It is the word for “knowing” someone in a personal, practical, and intimate way. Jesus knew what it felt like for faith to activate his power. From the beginning of time, God has interacted with people who dare to believe in him. He knew that feeling of power leaving at the command of faith.
It’s so incredible that God has willed for those who respond to the call of his Spirit, the call to believe by daring to take hold of him, no matter what the circumstances, to be healed and saved by faith.
What lies are keeping you from pressing in for healing? What lies are keeping you from fasting? Is it fear that you won’t be able to handle it physically? Do you forget that the Spirit of God will give you supernatural power, as you seek him through fasting? Do you believe that your life is beyond repair? Do you believe that you will always be crippled with depression? Do you think that there is no way out of your hopeless situation? Time to ask the Lord for faith. Time to ask the Lord for courage and boldness to press in and push aside the scary and defeating lies that torment and threaten to keep you from your healing.
In Isaiah 58 and in Joel 2, it describes the power of fasting to press in and take ahold of our healing. But, this act of fasting is not just to achieve a final result of healing, it needs to be done in faith – the persuasion that the Lord is willing and able to deliver us.
The Lord’s answer
Then the Lord was jealous for his land
and took pity on his people.
19 The Lord replied to them:
‘I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
an object of scorn to the nations.
‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten –
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm–
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the Lord your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.
Isaiah 58 (I am leaving out the conditions of the fast -repentance and righteousness- that I refer to in earlier blogs. For the full context, look up Isaiah 58 in your Bible!)
…your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I.
…your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
….then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Father, in Jesus’ name, I pray that you will fill me with faith. Fill me with the persuasion of your Holy Spirit. Open the eyes of my heart to hope. Give me hope in the most hopeless situations. I pray that your Spirit of wisdom and revelation will fill me with a deep and personal knowledge of you. I want to know you. I want to grow in that knowledge of you so that I am transformed.
Father, during this fast, I am pressing into your throne room. You say in Ephesians that I can go into your throne room with freedom and confidence. You are not far away. Jesus is not far away. You are very near. You are so close – closer than I can imagine.
Father, there are things in my life that have been my identity. They have defined me more than my relationship with you in your family through Christ. My sicknesses, allergies, weaknesses, rejection, even my own personal successes or failures have defined me more than Jesus. That changes today.
I know I am a child of the King of kings and Lord of lords. You are my Abba. You did not give me a spirit of fear, but a Spirit that cries out Abba, Father!
I speak out to those lies that are crowding my vision of you. I say, “Be removed, in Jesus’ name!” I pray that you will give me clear vision of every good thing I have in Christ Jesus.
I rebuke all tormenting spirits of depression, lying spirits that are lying to me, and spirits of infirmity, in Jesus’ name. I pray Lord for you to deliver me from the evil one and fill me with your Holy Spirit and power.
It says in Isaiah 58 that when we repent and spend our fast bringing honor to your name, helping the poor and helping those in need that our healing will quickly appear. It says in Joel 2 that the judgements you sent on me, because of sin will be removed and that you will repay the years the locust have eaten.
I pray for my healing, in Jesus’ name. I pray for you, Father, to build up my faith by your Holy Spirit. Strengthen my inner man, that I may know you better and truly know your love. Transform me! Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord. Renew a right spirit within me.
Thank you, Oh Lord, my God! Thank you for your promises that are faithful and true.