The readings today are challenging on so many levels. At first glance they are about suffering and death. Wisdom 1 proclaims that God did not make death and he does not delight in the death of the living. Rather, the reading continues, God created all things to exist in the image of the Triune’s own eternity. Psalm 30 praises a God who restores to life those who have gone down to the Pit. The Gospel tells two tales of daughters in need of healing and the boldness that is required by the faithful.
The woman who suffered twelve years with hemorrhages and endured much under many physicians always hits a nerve with me. Having suffered and endured at least as long with my rare form of endometriosis, I related well to this woman’s boldness. There comes a time in a health journey when something shifts and there is no returning. Like any awakening, a lasting inner change occurs. The woman in today’s scriptures stands in that moment of knowing this is the Way, and she reaches out and touches Christ’s cloak. Her faith, not only in Jesus, but in her own knowledge of what she needed, heals her. The Great Physician heals on many levels and the physical is just one. She believed, after chasing the wrong physicians, that the One who stood within reach was the One she had been searching for all those years. Jesus had the power and she knew it.
Living with cancer is an interesting phenomena. Over the years I have journeyed with various friends and seen a myriad of reactions. I have seen some go to extreme measures of dieting and alternative methods of healing. I have watched some merely choose to accept the diagnosis and die shortly afterwards. I have seen others fight and survive. Some have turned to prayer. Some have turned away from God. I have tried not to judge anyone who is faced with such challenging decisions. The trouble with cancer is that there probably is not one right way to face it. Each cancer effects each person differently. I have a rare and aggressive form of cancer. How I choose to face this will be done listening to the ones who know best–including my own voice. The woman today reminded me that listening to the inner voice is a key to success. Patients cannot be passive. She knew that if she reached out, her hemorrhage would stop and that she would be healed.
In September, my inner voice spoke, telling me that I had the fight of my life on my hands. How I knew then what would be revealed had been a compilation of a journey that began to unfold a year ago in March. I had been having this inner dialogue that surprised me and prepared me to do the journey of these past six months. I am unsure of what the destination has yet to be or the twists and turns in the road along the way. I know that I treasure my inner voice more than I can express. These God-whisperings as I call them keep me sane and calm. There will be lots of voices that will try to sway me in the months ahead and I am learning what is helpful. As with Jairus, the synagogue leader whose daughter is at the point of death, keeping my eyes on Jesus and listening to him, is crucial. Jairus’ daughter has had as many years of life as the woman who Christ calls daughter has had her affliction. Jesus tells Jairus not to fear but only believe. What must have run through Jairus’ mind at that point? Did his God-whisperings cause his heart to leap and believe? They must have because he went with Jesus and sure enough, his daughter got up and was given something to eat.
Jairus had gone to Christ in a moment of crisis. He was interrupted by another daughter in need and saw that Jesus had time and compassion to heal her. He must have sensed that this man was what he was looking for and that was confirmed. I think we do know deep within what we are to do for our own healing. Lots of voices will compete with the God-whisperings. Discernment will help us find the way we must walk.
What I have found most helpful in these months are those who do not tell me what to do as if they know best but ask me what I need from them for my particular situation. I have been abundantly blessed with everything I need. So many dear ones have offered wonderful, consoling resources and distractions. The best among these have been prayer. Some have been bold in their petitions. Others have just lifted their moans and left it to a merciful God to figure out what is necessary. These have been a gift gratefully received.
What is God whispering to you that requires your attention?
How can your faith be bold enough to reach out for exactly what you need?