“A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years”.
Mk 5:24, 25 NIV
Some people seem to breeze through life without any illness more than an occasional sneeze. Others seem to attract illnesses at every touch and turn. The Bronte family in northern England had more than their fair share of suffering in the nineteenth century. Charlotte wrote, “O child, the human heart can suffer. It holds more tears than the ocean holds waters. We never know how wide, how deep it is, until misery begins to unbind her clouds, and fills it with rushing blackness” (C. Bronte, “Shirley”) (Charlotte lost two sisters and a brother from tuberculosis in one year and she died of it herself later).
Whilst Jesus was on his way to see Jairus’ daughter, this sick woman came to him for healing. She was one for whom suffering had become a way of life. It had dogged her existence for twelve long years. Not only had she known the suffering. She had consulted various doctors and obtained no relief. This caused her frustration and despair. No doubt she was convinced that her sins had caused the problem, since this was the religious teaching of the day. So added to the suffering and embarrassment was the further mental torture of guilt.
Life is not a bed of roses for many people. Some people have partners addicted to alcohol or drug abuse – which makes for a living hell, and shows that some suffering can be inflicted by other people. Christian disciples will try to be sensitive to people whose suffering – whatever the cause – is an ongoing problem that clouds the whole of their existence.
Lord, help me to be especially caring to those who suffer for long years.