It was a rough session–they’ve been rough lately. The woman on the other side of the screen is caught in an intense struggle with insurmountable health issues. They affect her in countless ways, in each of her roles as a young wife, mother, friend, and daughter. They shatter her sense of self, her personal security, and her view of God’s providence. She’s tried everything she can think of to improve her situation, to no avail. The mystery of her struggle confounds every doctor and specialist she’s seen.
“They keep saying there is no reason I should feel the way I do,” she shared through tears of frustration. “I should not feel this way, but I do. What am I supposed to do with that?”
It was a simple question with a wildly difficult answer. Her plea reminded me of three other women; women I deeply admire. I don’t know their names, but their witness speaks volumes in the hard places of life. Their resonating voices answered in ways mine could not.
The first woman is found in Mark 5:25-34. She’s commonly known as the woman with the issue of blood. For twelve years she struggled with the effects of a mystifying health condition that weakened her physically and ostracized her from her Jewish family and friends. As one who was unclean, isolation added insult to her injuries. She also faced financial ruin, having spent everything she had on helpers who did not help. Like my counselee, on this earthly plane, she faced a dead end. Then she lit on an idea. She’ll turn to Jesus.
The second woman we discussed was the Syrophoenician woman. Her story is found in Mark 7:24-30. She was heartbroken by the ravaging effects demon possession had on her child. Her daughter’s specific struggles are not mentioned, but muteness, convulsions, writhing, and foaming at the mouth are associated with demon possession further on in Mark 9. Overwrought by demonic devastation, this Gentile mother desperately seeks help. Love for her daughter compels her. She finds Jesus resting in a Jewish home, and begs, then argues, for his intervention. She turns to Jesus.
Both women tenaciously seek Christ, the only One who can save them. They’re not daunted by Jewish leaders who might keep them from Jesus, or what others think, or even the fear of rejection. They turn to Jesus. He alone can help.
The third woman’s story is told by Jesus himself. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus teaches the power of persistence through the parable of the widow and the judge. The woman he describes has no social standing and no marital protection. In fact, she seems to have nothing but tenacity. She will keep pleading her case with the judge, because she can. She will keep on asking. She will continue to go to him, focusing on the only one who can impact her case. She will turn to him, again and again, for as long as it takes.
There’s only one thing to do with the shattered pieces of our struggles, and the overwhelmingly raw emotions that come with them. That is to turn, and keep turning, to Jesus. We can bring the pain to him, the discouragement and dejection to him, and know that he listens. We can bring our brokenness to him, again, and again, as many times as it takes. Jesus not only commends it–he commands it.
We can keep on asking, keep on praying, and keep on believing that Jesus Christ, who does above and beyond what we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20), miraculously works through the prayers of his people. Nagging may not be a spiritual gift, but repeatedly asking is certainly a mark of faith. After Jesus shares the parable of the widow and the judge, he asks, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke18:8b).
My counselee and I agreed. We must keep on turning to our Lord and Savior. When we do, and as we do, we answer Jesus’ question with an emphatic yes.
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Crystal is a Christ-follower, wife, mother, counselor, and friend. She is passionate about connecting others with the truth of God's miraculous power and sustaining presence.