When Only Virtue Will Do
I’ve been in women’s ministry for about 20 years and one of my favorite things to do is take sisters through a journey of healing while studying the lives of women who were transformed by encountering Jesus.
One of my absolute favorites is the woman in Mark 5 – the woman with the issue of blood.
While I love all of the women in the Word, this woman is my personal superhero.
In Mark 5:25 we meet this woman. She is nameless. There’s no real mention of family or relationships. She’s defined only by her affliction and its impact on her life. Over the years I’ve found myself going back to her again and again for wisdom and encouragement. In times where I’ve experienced profound loneliness in my life, I remember her and how alone she must have felt. Because of her condition, basically a period that wouldn’t stop, she was “unclean” according to the culture of her day. That meant everyone had to stay away from her.
No one could touch her. Hug her. Hold her hand. She had no shoulder to cry on.
Yes, I’ve been there. Isolated in grief and depression. Surrounded by people, yet so alone. In those times, I would think of her.
Then there’s the times when I’ve needed to summon the courage to make a serious life changing move. I remember how this woman’s own desperation led her to defy the law and risk death by stoning just to get to Jesus.
Her courage can bring me to shame.
Lately, it’s been her battle with a chronic ailment that has ministered to me. For the past five years I’ve been challenged with one physical condition after the other. It’s like I turned 50 years old and my body decided to turn completely against me. Two surgeries. Medical leaves. More doctor, chiropractor, cancer screenings, and lab visits in the past 5 years than my entire life combined. I’ve tried all kinds of medications and supplements to relieve pain, calm my immune system down, and get a restful night sleep without waking up in pain.
When it says in Mark 5:25 that this woman “endured much suffering under [the hands of] many physicians and had spent all that she had, and was no better but instead grew worse,” I get it. My health has taken a significant toll on me financially, mentally, and emotionally.
So here I am revisiting this woman, and again she ministers to me.
I see in her story a need for something that was beyond the “healing” others tried to offer her. She didn’t need another tonic or ritual.
She needed something that only Jesus could impart to her. Virtue.
In Mark 5:30 it says that when this woman touched just the very hem of Jesus’ garment He himself felt virtue leave him. This was beyond the touch that healed. Virtue here as defined by Strong’s Concordance means: miraculous power, might and strength. Her desperation made such a demand on the power of Jesus that it stopped Him in His tracks. And the Bible says she was not only healed, but the SOURCE of her ailment was cured. Yes, I want that! I don’t just want my symptoms to stop. I want the origins of every health condition I’m challenged with to be utterly obliterated.
There comes a time when you just want off the hamster wheel going round and round.
The woman in Mark 5 said “Enough!” I join her. “Enough!”
How about you? At some point only virtue will do. I need power. I need strength. I need a miracle. I love the moment when this dear woman’s eyes meet Jesus’ and she confessed that it was indeed her who touched Him. With love in His eyes He told her that her faith, her trust in Him, had healed her. Not His touch, but her faith.
Her story reminds me that Christ’s virtue flows on demand according to my own faith.
I only need to summon my own courage and run to Jesus. I don’t know how many more times in my life I’ll open my Bible and turn to the ragged, heavily highlighted pages of Mark 5 to glean from my biblical hero, but I take comfort knowing that her witness is always there for me. And you. Press on sister. Press on.
Lisa is a Prophetic Minister, Teacher, Worshiper, Author, and Entrepreneur from Portland, Oregon. Her heart is to create opportunities for all people, especially God’s precious daughters, to encounter the power of God. Lisa is the Founder/President of The Ecclesia Group, a Christian Lifestyle Company that ministers faith in the marketplace through her women’s organization, FaithBridge, LLC, and her Christian travel retreat company, Selah Retreats & Travel. Lisa is also the author of the prophetic devotional “The JoyFull Journey – a devotional for time away with the Shepherd”.