We are in week 3 of our Summer of Love series…
Through our SOLVE7 ministry, we are spending the entire summer inviting our Whitewater community to be the tangible hands and feet of Jesus to love our neighbor really well - locally, and around the world.
For those of you that are watching or hanging out with us for the first time or those who haven’t heard of Solve7…
Our SOLVE7 ministry exists to help people find HOPE by removing physical barriers to make way for spiritual opportunities.
Last week, I believe God used Nic Gonzales in such a powerful way as Nic led us to RESCUE the slave. Thousands upon thousands of dollars were raised to help rescue women and children from the sex trade, both locally and globally. We still want to reach our goal of $20K for our partner AIM; as a reminder, for every $1K raised, another woman is rescued from slavery. You can partner with AIM by texting the word “whitewater” to 44321.
This week we are going to take a look at the barrier of Healing the Sick.
We believe that when we allow Jesus to use us to HEAL the sick, both physical and mental illnesses, we are giving people HOPE they will overcome and that their identity is not their illness. Not only do we want to help people heal their bodies, but also their minds.
We’d all agree, that when something is wrong with our body, physically, we should go to the doctor.
We’d all agree on that… unless you’re my Dad. True story, when I was in 5th grade, I had a really bad accident involving me, my cousin, Fritzy, and a compound bow and arrow. The arrow won.
My knee was sliced wide open… blood just pouring out, and I kid you not, my dad’s initial response was “grab a towel and put some duct tape on it… you’ll be fine.”
And so that’s what we did. We duct-taped my knee. It wasn’t until the blood was still coming through the towel AND the duct tape, that my dad finally gave in and took me to the hospital.
See, I come from the generation of parenting that believed duct tape fixes everything (sometimes it does).
But other than my dad, and a few of you… when our body needs help, we give it help.
But what about our mind?
We still have this stigma, even in the church, that we shouldn’t talk about things if we’re struggling mentally or emotionally. We should keep that to ourselves. Stuff it down. White knuckle it. Put some duct tape on it.
Or if we do talk about it, too often we’re met with awkward conversations and bad advice. “Well, I know it’s hard, put it’ll pass.” “You know what the bible says, ‘this too shall pass’”. (By the way, that’s not in the bible.)
What happens when it doesn’t pass? What then? What about when the things we struggle with don’t go away?
Too often, our family and friends who are struggling learn to hide their struggle. So they silently struggle for fear of the stigma that will be placed on them by their inner circle. Which then leads to further discouragement, depression, isolation, and abandonment, making recovery even more difficult.
Too often, those of us who struggle with any kind of mental illness… we sentence ourselves to a private prison.
And before you think this issue isn’t close to home… according to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five adults, over 20%, live with a mental illness. That number represents 51.5 million people in America. In addition to that, an estimated 49.5% of adolescents, ages 13-18, also live with a mental illness. 1 in 5 adults, almost 50% of our teens.
It would be wise to maybe put down the duct tape and maybe see if there’s another way to heal. Both mentally and physically. Because the reality is that many who struggle physically, struggle with mental health issues as well.
I want us to take a look at a story in the Bible that takes a look at what we’re talking about. In Mark 5, we find a story of Jesus healing both the mind and the body of woman who had nearly lost all hope. What I love about this story in Mark 5 is there are multiple stories of healing that happen.
In verses 21-43 and verses 35-43, Jesus tells the story of a guy named Jairus, a leader of a local synagogue, whose 12-yr-old daughter is dying. I pray I never have to experience that. To lose a child is not fair and it doesn’t make any sense.
I know so many of you have gone through this. Just this past week, another family from our Lawrenceburg community was walking through this pain. One of our team members, Ryan Johnson, lost his 14-yr-old cousin, Brady Gabbard. In a matter of two weeks, the family found out Brady had stage 4 cancer and two weeks later, Brady went home to Jesus.
I had the privilege to share the Hope of Jesus at a memorial service for the community. It was so powerful. Seeing people from every walk of life, from so many different communities coming together to rally around Brady’s family.
I know Brady’s family was praying for a miracle. They were praying for healing.
As a pastor, I can’t tell you why sometimes God chooses to heal the sickness on earth and sometimes that healing is only found in Heaven. I wish I knew why. I’ve seen both happen. Beautiful, powerful, life-changing, healing miracles. But, I’ve also seen the miracle of restoration only come from being reunited with our Father in heaven.
I choose every day to trust God, even when it doesn’t make sense. I choose to have faith. I choose to trust God’s word that says “his ways are not our ways.”
And until Jesus returns or calls me home, I will continue to trust and have faith and choose to bring healing in Jesus’ name, however I can, to a hurting and broken world.
In Mark 5, we find one of those powerful stories where Jesus heals a 12-yr-old girl. It’s a beautiful story.
BUT, sandwiched in between this story of a 12-yr-old girl being healed, is the story of another young woman who has been suffering for 12 years.
What Jairus, the little girl’s daddy, and Jesus’ disciples didn’t know, is Jesus would be healing two daughters that day.
Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. 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.” 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?”
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.
His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
Can you imagine this moment? Twelve years suffering with an illness. Twelve years suffering without answers. Her bank account depleted. The doctors haven’t been able to help. Twelve years being marginalized.
See, according to the religious laws and customs of these people, a woman with a bleeding disorder like this would be considered unclean. Which means her family couldn’t eat food she prepared, couldn't sit on any furniture she sat on, nobody could even touch her without becoming ‘unclean’ themselves.
Because if you were seen as ‘unclean’, then you were considered unclean in the eyes of God. You couldn’t worship in the synagogue. You couldn’t have a rabbi pray over you.
When you are branded as unclean. You are isolated. Abandoned. Marginalized. Forgotten.
For twelve years… Unclean. Broke. Bleeding. Broken. Can you imagine what that would feel like? To not have hope… for that long. Can you imagine what that would do to your mental state?
Not being accepted for that long. Not being touched for that long. Not being able to find peace for that long?
Some of you can. Some of you know exactly what that feels like. For some of you it’s been 12 months... some of you 12 years… some even longer.
How long has it been for you? Silently bleeding. Secretly bleeding. On the inside. Emotionally. Mentally. Relationally. Physically. Financially.
How long have you been trying to hold it all together? Trying to make it work. Trying to find the answer. Trying to fix it before they find out.
How long have you been bleeding?
See, after a while, you just slip into despair. Slip into darkness. Just wishing you could slip away. I know. I’ve been there.
I remember it like it was yesterday; when I finally dropped to my knees out of desperation, and said... “God, I don’t even know if you are real… but if you are, help me. I can’t do this anymore. I need you.”
Desperation is a powerful thing. It can change everything.
Charles Dickens wrote, “Desperation is far more powerful than rage.”
This woman in our text… who doesn’t’ even get a name other than ‘the woman with the issue of blood'… ‘the bleeding woman’… this young woman became desperate.
Desperate enough to push through a crowd. Desperate enough to try one more time. Desperate enough to reach out to a rabbi who wasn’t like all the others. A rabbi who hung out with the least and lost, not just the highest and best.
See, one way or another, desperation will cause the highest and lowest to fall at the feet of Jesus.
Desperation will drive you to your divine destination.
Verse 28 in our text changes everything for this woman... For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”
Did you catch that? Her desperate thought made the bleeding stop.
For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” And verse 29... Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
In her desperation, she has the audacity to think that if an unclean woman… rejected and forgotten for twelve years… could just reach out to this radical, unconventional rabbi that maybe, just maybe she could be healed.
See, if you wanna experience breakthrough and healing, you’ve got to be desperate enough to ask the question, "What have I got to lose?"
This bleeding woman, has a thought, that changes everything. Do you understand the power of your thoughts?
For twelve years, all this woman heard was "you can’t." And for twelve years, she believed it. And they were right. If you think you can or you think you can’t… you’re probably right.
But in her desperation… God stirred up in her a new thought. A dangerous thought. A desperate thought.
"If I could just get close enough to Jesus… I’m not worthy enough to see him face to face… but if I could just sneak up from behind… If I could just touch his robe… if I could just get close enough… I believe he could heal me.”
If you want to change your reality, you’ve got to change your mind.
Do you believe your bleeding can stop or don’t you? I’m not talking about the power of suggestion. I’m talking about the power of a thought that is rooted in faith.
Do you believe Jesus is who he says he is? Do you believe there is healing power in the name of Jesus? Do you believe things can change or don’t you?
Do you believe the one that is IN you is greater than the one who is in the world?
There is life-changing, healing power available to those who are desperate enough to believe.
Video: Abby Doyle
I love this story. I’m so proud of Abby.
Did you catch what she said in there? “I know I have a long journey ahead of me… but, the bleeding stopped.”
When our team asked me if I wanted to show this video this week, I asked Conor and Abby a question. I asked: “Are the two of you ready to put yourselves out there like that? Any time you share a testimony… two things happen… the enemy attacks and people talk.” Conor and Abby talked, and their response to my question was simple… “If just one person finds HOPE because of our story, it’s all worth it.”
That’s a powerful thought.
It’s risky to put yourself out there... because the enemy is real and all he wants to do is discourage and destroy. It’s risky to put yourself out there… because sometimes people are boneheads.
What I have loved watching in Abby’s story ever since the elders prayed is how her face has changed. See before… when I first met Abby… she looked tired. Defeated. Despair was starting to take hold. Her face said it all.
But now… I see life. I see HOPE.
You’re not the young woman with the issue of blood... You’re not the girl who can’t make it to the bathroom, Abby… you’re a DAUGHTER of the KING!
She’s a young woman who was desperate enough to ask for help. Desperate enough to have an audacious thought that healing was possible. She’s the young woman who believed her story wasn’t over. Desperate enough to believe there could be a different ending.
Go back to our text… after the woman in our text was healed, Jesus turns around, starts looking for who was just healed. The woman finally reveals herself. Verse 33… "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."
Listen, it doesn’t matter if you are a custodian, caretaker, or King…
There will come a point where your only option for answers, your only hope for breakthrough will be found by breaking down at the feet of Jesus.
Your Breakdown Will Lead to Your Breakthrough.
Verse 34… And Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
Do you know this is the only time in the gospels that Jesus calls someone daughter? (Fact checkers, keep me honest, but I’ve done my homework.) Think about that.
The woman who had been called lots of different things for twelve years is the ONE person in Gospels that Jesus calls "Daughter."
He didn’t have to do that. He already healed her physical issues. Why worry about finding her and calling her daughter?
I believe he did this because the body was healing but the mind was still hurting. For so long her identity was in her issue.
There was a time when this woman had a name, but 12 years is a long time. Over time, she lost her name and became her issue. We do this all the time.
We define ourselves by what we go through. By how we feel. We define ourselves by our emotions, our status… our highest point… our lowest point.
We start saying thing like, “I’m an addict. I’m a mess. I’m stupid. I’m worthless. I’m broken. I’m divorced. I’m widowed. I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m depressed.”
You are not your issue.
You are not an addict. You are a child of God who manages their addiction.
You are not depressed. You are a child of God who manages their depression.
You are not worthless. You are a child of God who is worth dying for.
You are not your issue.
Jesus gave this woman her name back. She was no longer ‘woman with the issue’… she was 'Daughter.'
Knowing who you are and whose you are, gives you the power to heal.
We all have stuff. We all have issues. Physical issues. Mental issues. Places on the inside where we’re bleeding. But those issues don’t define us.
Acknowledging this... believing things can change and being desperate enough to boldly take a healing step of action… can change everything.