One of the things that I really love most about this blog are the new friendships and relationships that it has allowed me to build with like-minded women such as Ellen Chauvin, Lesego Barona and Chloelle Bond. They are all beautiful women of God who continue to inspire me with their talent and encourage me with their support. One such lady is the amazing Rebekah Nwokonkor, who wrote about the woman with the issue of blood a few months back.
One of the things that really struck me about Rebekah’s account of the woman with the issue of blood is the way it highlighted the fact that she was willing to both think and act outside of the box in order to obtain her blessing. Therefore, today we will be taking lessons from the woman with the issue of blood on being unorthodox and upsetting the status quo. If you prefer, you can listen to this devotional rather than reading it. You also have my full permission to download and share it too.
For a full and comprehensive account of the woman with the issue of blood, I would refer you back to Rebekah’s interview. But, her story can be found in Luke 8:43-48 and, to summarise for those who don’t know it, it involves a woman that had a gynecological issue which caused her to bleed persistently for twelve years.
In those times women were considered unclean for being on their periods; so a woman with such a pervasive issue would literally have been ostracised by everybody within her community- including her family, if she had any at all (the Bible doesn’t tell us whether or not she did). It therefore not only hindered other people’s relations with her (as they wouldn’t have wanted to be made unclean themselves by being in contact with her) but it also restricted her ability to interact and mix with others. So this was a lady who was very much on the fringes of society. Hence she, like the widow from the story of The Widow’s Mite and many other women in the Bible, is nameless. Unlike the afore-mentioned widow, however, the woman with the issue of blood seemed quite well to do by comparison because the Bible says that, prior to her encounter with Jesus, she had spent her savings trying to seek out a cure for her ailment to no avail.
This is all until the day our spiritual mother heard that Jesus was coming to town. As a result, she made up in her mind that she was going to seek Him out and claim her healing, not by asking Him to touch her, but by touching the hem of His garment. This was quite possibly because she knew that she was breaking the law by going out in public, meaning that she wanted to maintain a low profile and remain as anonymous as possible. At the time she went to find Him, however, there was such a crowd that she literally had to push through them all in order to get close enough to Jesus. Once she did and got to touch Him, she was healed. However, her wish to stay incognito was totally overturned by Jesus’ question of “who touched me?” due to feeling “virtue go out from [Him]”. The woman with the issue of blood was therefore forced to come clean about what she had done, all the while trembling in fear. Yet, just like in His dealings with the adulterous woman, Jesus did not condemn her but extended grace by telling her she could “go in peace” because her faith had made her whole.
This story clearly covers many themes. As previously alluded to, these include:
- Grace and mercy
- Faith and the need to act on it
- Persistence and perseverance
- The power in sharing our testimonies
However, I believe that all of these things came as a result of this woman being audacious enough to be unorthodox and upset the status quo. That, to me, was the thing that acted as a catalyst to all the things mentioned above.
Unorthodox can be defined as: “not conforming to rules, traditions or modes of conduct, as of doctrine, religion or philosophy…”
The status quo can be defined as: “The existing state or condition;” so when people upset the status quo they are literally going against normalised social constructs and thought patterns. They are railing against “this is how it’s always been done” mentalities and attitudes.
If the woman with the issue of blood had accepted the restrictions being placed upon her, she would not have been healed. If the woman with the issue of blood had allowed the failures of her past attempts to be healed to dictate the outcome of her future, she would not have obtained her blessing. She shows us that we have to think of our failures as a comma, dash or semicolon- anything but a full stop. She demonstrates the truth and validity of the statement “in order to achieve something you’ve never achieved you must be willing to do what you’ve never done”. This involves being flexible about the way that we achieve our goals, whilst remaining unwavering about the goal itself- whereas being orthodox or adhering to the status quo is quite the opposite. It is an attachment to a particular process, sometimes at the expense of the actual goal.
In Isaiah 43:19 God says:
“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert”.
Both this verse, this woman and Jesus’ response to her show that:
- God is not attached to a particular way of doing things
- Although there is merit in the old (as it got us to where we are now) God expects us to go from strength to strength and glory to glory, building on the foundation of the past; not staying stuck in it
- Religion (represented by the law in this story) looks to what God has done and works off of old formulas. It is rigid whereas relationship (represented by Jesus) looks to what God is currently doing and is able to move with Him. Relationship with God is therefore the thing that helps us to “know it” and perceive it when God is ready to do something new through and within our lives.
So what about you, lovely? We serve a creative and innovative God who, as you read, is forever doing new things. You are made in His image; so what new thing can you take up today that will draw you closer to your goals, whatever they may be? What old way of doing things or limiting beliefs do you need to drop in order to progress? Take a leaf out of the woman with the issue of blood’s book. Refuse to be tied down by your circumstances or the restrictions that society places on you, whether that be due to your gender, race, size or stature. Don’t let your past dictate your future and don’t be afraid to break free of orthodoxy and the status quo to get your blessing. Remember, “in order to achieve something you’ve never achieved you must be willing to do what you’ve never done”. Let God lead you as to what that means to and for your life and it will never be the same again.