Faith, Stories from Scripture
Comments 8

Safe and Sound {A desperate woman’s story}

“Take heart, daughter,” he said, “Your faith has healed you.”


It began innocently enough. Like her mother before her, she felt her body changing. It was an ominous feeling, a darkness creeping along raw edges of her soul.

For some time, she hid it well; her skin was smooth, hair bright with very few strands of gray, energy high. She had taken gentle pride in her appearance, in the way she cared for herself. She had given the world, and her husband, four healthy sons, though secretly she breathed thanksgiving to God that she never brought a baby girl into the world.

At least she would not be passing along trouble from mother to daughter to daughter.

No one else besides me would suffer as my mother had, she thought as she cleaned the streaks of blood from her own dressings, scrubbing salt into the linen until her knuckles were raw. Scrubbing hard she begged God with desperate whispers, “Save me from this. Please, save me from this.”

But the bleeding increased. She employed every method to hide it. Suffering from private humility, she though about the months and years of her efforts to conceal what was happening to her, the breaking down of a woman’s body, the unnamed disease that ate away at her womb. It wore out her spirit.

And then the day came when it wore so thin, it wore clean through. Her brokenness was revealed, her humility laid bare. The considerate priest, her mother’s brother, couldn’t help her anymore; he could not find a way within the law to declare her clean. “Is there any hope for someone like you?” he shook his head in sorrow.

Then came the certificate of divorce. She knew it would only a be matter of time before her husband would send her away. She was a horror, unclean according to their law, an embarrassment to her husband, a pariah in the community. It was over. Her life had ended, only her heart beat to remind her that she existed.

Four years later, she squatted under a tree, over a patch of mossy grass, softly groaning under the weight of the increasing pain. What began as bleeding between her cycle grew into pain; she blanched and wept.

She waited for a crust of bread to be tossed to her or a bit of the synagogue rations doled out by sour-faced Levites — a pitiful handout that the law required be served to the widows and orphans. When she did eat it, it stuck like a rock in her throat for it was served with contempt. No love. She clutched her quaking abdomen and continued to breathe, “Lord, save me from this. Save me.”

She had given up on mercy. She had all but forgotten love. She tottered on the edge of hell, a dead-woman-walking, an untouchable, unnoticed.

But her heart remembered the words of her mother, repeated over and over on fevered lips, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm of Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord. {Is. 41:13-14} They became her food and drink. Her body contorted under disease and dishevelment, her only sustenance words from an ancient prophet, himself like her, rejected.

It was afternoon. The day that everything changed. The sun hung high in the sky and blazed it’s light everywhere. She huddled near the side of a building, in a swatch of shade where the rocks felt cool on her bare feet.  She was crawling with pain, her stomach was filled with something hard that had grown there. It mocked her, reminded her of her happy days of childbirth; it grew disease.

She was beyond weary.  All thoughts had left her, any memory of goodness slipped behind the cloud of her despair. She repeated her mother’s words, repeated her prayer. She slept, the words still passing across her open lips. A passerby might have thought her dead.

She awoke surrounded by sandals and feet and tunics. How long had she slept?  The air was stifled by bodies. Suddenly a man broke through the crowds and threw himself at the feet of another, knocking him over and crying loudly. Crying with desperation akin to her soul.

“Master! My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live!”

Master!

She looked at the man. Her spirit recognized what her eyes did not. At once, her body flung forward, a grotesque echo of that desperate father and she knew.

He had come. I myself will help you.

He will help me. He will save me.

He Will.

“If only I touch his cloak, I will be healed,” she thought.

She fell, hands reaching forward, face to the ground. Dirt in her mouth.

A brush against the hemline of his cloak.

“Who touched me? I felt the power of God through me…to someone.”

His voice held authority, but its intonation was rounded, full, with something…what was it?

Love.

She stood — Stood! She felt like young girl, fresh as morning. Alive.

And she spoke, haltingly, of her moment of desperate hope, the ancient promise from the book of Isaiah, the instant wellness that swelled in her body like a spring from a desert rock.

“Daughter,” he spoke with laughter, joy bubbling on words, “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

His eyes met hers and wordlessly gave her the confidence to walk to the road to the synagogue. To be declared clean. Her heart pounded the truth — I am clean. I am clean. I am loved. He came. He came to me.

I am healed. Safe and sound.

She didn’t need the priest’s words of approval, though she would seek them and return to the house of her son. He saved her, healed her, his words embraced her soul when her Savior declared her sozo.

///

Take heart — Greek word: tharseo take courage and comfort

Faith — Greek word: pistis the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ; a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.

Healed — Greek word: sozo she became well, whole, healthy, rescued from danger, restored, safe and sound. {Greek Lexicon definitions}

Friend, there is nothing — nothing — outside of the bounds of his power.

That includes you.

{Do you have a desperate prayer? He hears you. He won’t forget you.}

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8 Comments

  1. What a powerful post! Pure truth, “Nothing is outside the bounds of his power.” “Nothing”! Faith and perseverance are gifts from God himself. I need to be reminded of that once in awhile, thanks.

    • And, I’ve never had to persevere like that — alone and utterly cast out. I can’t wrap my head around the despair, really.

  2. Oh, Alyssa! You are a weaver of words and faith. You brought this beautifully alive… and I could feel like I was right there 00 reliving the moment of joy and also need… I loved imagining seeing Jesus! 🙂 Thank you for adding this wonderful work of art to the jam! Blessings, friend!

    • Thank you for hosting the jam! I’ve enjoyed your site, too, very much. Thanks for reading, and I will join again 🙂 Blessings to you! Aly

  3. Diane Fisher says

    Wow! You really brought that story to life for me.
    Thanks for the inspiration!!

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