Photo Cred: Paula Biggs for Frog Prince Paperie
*I originally wrote this post for Wonderfully Made’s blog “Know Your Value” in October.
Have you ever been sick? Have you ever dealt with pain in your body or mind? Have you ever seen a loved one suffer, or maybe even die?
This might sound heavy, but take a deep breath and hang in there with me, because sometimes it is important to talk about heavy things.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Around the nation, people raise awareness about breast cancer, helping to erase stigma for the disease, and encourage early detection of the disease for treatment.
A study and article posted on the American Cancer Society website says that “an estimated 60,290 new cases” of breast cancer in women will be detected in 2015.
As we move through the year and find ourselves in October, it is important that we at Wonderfully Made address the pain and fear that women (and men too) find themselves in when diagnosed with cancer, disease, and illness.
Taking a step back, I want to shift your attention from our world today to go back in time about 2,000 years. Let’s look at one woman who struggled with disease for 12 years before finally finding healing through faith in one Man…
“A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, ‘if I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.’” (Mark 5: 25-28)
Now I want to take a moment to explain a bit about the culture of Bible times. Women were not considered equal to men, but deferred to them in the patriarchal society that fathers ruled their households, including their wives.
This woman was single, which already puts her in a vulnerable place, and on top of that, for 12 years she sought medical help for a blood hemorrhage. That meant that she spent her entire wealth on doctors to try to get healing, which left her in a worse spot. When this woman met Jesus, she was penniless, sick, and no one was on her side.
She didn’t have medical insurance. She didn’t have a husband to support her. She didn’t have people raising awareness for her. No one started a campaign to helping with the stigma of bleeding for 12 years. She didn’t have specialists she could travel to all over the world, when the doctors she consulted didn’t have an answer.
She was destitute and desperate. And when it came to meeting the most important, popular, and reputable Rabbi of her time, she couldn’t even approach him to tell her story.
She only had one thing, and that was her faith to just touch him. And now, her story is not forgotten.
“Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my robe?’ His disciples said to him, ‘Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, “Who touched me?” ’ But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.’” (Mark 5: 29- 34)
Jesus never changes, and to this day He wants to heal our bodies, minds, and souls. He wants us to know Him as our Savior and Healer. He wants to call us daughters and for us to seek Him when we need help, medical or otherwise.
As you think about Breast Cancer Awareness this month, and the many who have suffered breast cancer, are seeking help now, or might be diagnosed later, know that their stories matter. Their stories are important to the Father who sees and knows suffering to the point of healing a penniless, unnamed woman of the Bible so long ago. He calls these women His daughters, and He is ready and able to grant peace and healing.
So have hope, my friends, like this sick woman from the Bible. Keep the faith to look up and out. To not give up getting help. To just grasp on the fringe of His robes that He will save.
Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. ~Mathew 9:22~
If you want to learn more about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or get involved in a deeper way, Komen is a national non-profit, with other great resources, centered on breast cancer.