This is Titus, our 10-year-old fur-baby. Titus has been in our family since he was 7 weeks old. He grew up under my desk while I worked from home. He loves to fetch a ball, a cold river swim, and a run on our local golf course.
This week he had a vet appointment to check on one of the many skin growths he has cultivated over time (Titus is part Labrador Retriever and skin growths are common to the breed).
The morning of the appointment, Titus woke with a significant limp! When we looked at his paw, we found a red, raw, spot lying under a small bead of tree sap. Evidently, the sap had stuck to his hair and rubbed the area raw. Poor baby, his humans hadn’t noticed the irritant that laid just under his fur.
Have you ever encountered something or someone that proved to be an irritant in your life? Perhaps rubbing your emotions, patience, and confidence to the point that your heart is red and raw, and you find yourself limping through life in pain. Dragging behind you the memories and baggage of a nagging, angry, untreated wound.
Those around you, those that love you, may see you struggling but they don’t know the cause of your pain. They are oblivious to the thing that has causes you so much discomfort.
- The neglect, abuse you suffered as a child.
- The unkind words you encountered as a teen.
- The comparisons made that left you feeling less-than as a young woman.
- The disappointments faced as an adult.
All irritants will cause wounds that fester and worsen if left untreated.
I am glad to report that Titus’ paw is healing nicely and he will be free of one more of those little skin lumps next week.
But for our wounds, it’s not that easy to heal and move forward. So what do we do when a wound doesn’t heal, an irritant won’t go away?
You may have read the story of a young woman shared in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. She is unnamed in these accounts but we learn she had a physical irritant. An illness that would not go away regardless of prayer and seeking help from others.
Mark 9:25-26 shares some details about this woman,
(25) A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. (26) 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.
(All verses taken from New International Version (NIV))
This woman suffered for 12 years. Trips to the doctor had proved ineffective. In fact, based on scripture,
She had suffered a great deal from them.
Her money was gone and the thing that plagued her, the thing that drained her, caused her frustration and sadness had gotten worse.
The Bible doesn’t share anything else about this unnamed woman but we can assume that based on the culture of that time, she was considered unclean – a social outcast.
Her illness, the irritant that plagued her, rubbed her soul raw, her spirit raw, her confidence raw, had robbed her of her dreams. She stood weak, frail, exposed. She needed more than the doctors could provide; she needed Jesus.
Mark 5:27 tells us,
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.
In spite of this woman’s illness, her impurity, her social status, she knew that Jesus held the answer. All she had to do was touch His clothing. All she had to do was have a brief encounter with the living God and as Mark 5:29 states,
Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
A woman that had suffered for 12 years, a woman whose heart and soul had been rubbed raw, a woman whose faith held out hope for a miraculous healing – was healed IMMEDIATELY!
Lysa Terkeurst shared in a recent Frist 5 devotion,
God doesn’t answer our prayers at any time but the right time.
His time may not feel right to you and I. It may feel delayed, I bet it did to this woman. His timing may make us anxious, fearful, lonely, and betrayed, the list can go on and on, but sisters please know that His timing is perfect for all you are going through.
Your irritant will not defeat you. What is rubbing you raw will not overcome you. Whatever is holding you down, back, sidelined, or defeated will not overtake you.
Because our God promises to work it out,
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Our God uses our raw, broken hearts to transform us, shape us into His image.
• Your childhood – an open wound… God heals!
• The pain of your teenage years – a raw spot on your heart… God heals!
• Your self-doubt, lack of confidence – an irritant… God heals!
• Your adult disappointments and sin – a wound lying just under the skin… God heals!
And then He uses us to touch the lives of those around us.
BeLoved, just as this unnamed woman sought out Jesus and didn’t stop until she touched his clothing, seek Him for what you’re facing today. Don’t stop, don’t lose faith if God seems delayed. Remember, He is refining you. He is transforming you; He is healing you.
Take a few minutes this week to read the story of this woman in all three gospels:
• Matthew 9:20-22
• Mark 5:24-34
• Luke 8:42-48
Then reflect on the following questions:
1. What was the woman’s response to her healing?
2. What was Jesus’ response to the woman?
3. What do we learn about how we should respond to our suffering and healing from this story?
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