The Man with the Issue of Blood
It was an issue of blood -- but not blood only. You see, the diabetes that wracked my friend Dick's body had also damaged his liver and destroyed his kidneys. But it was the issue of blood -- the lack of circulation -- that made Dick's trial most evident to rest of us. This was especially true in the past year when he underwent surgery to amputate his leg.
The diabetes that he had fought so valiantly for these many years finally claimed Dick's life on a beautiful day in May.
Working together at CBN, Dick and I experienced the presence of God during times of prayer or worship. But when I heard that Dick had gone to be with the Lord, I was reminded of one particularly sweet moment that we shared -- it was an intimate moment with the Savior.
I was asked to lead chapel in our department during a telethon a little more than a year before. As I prayed about what I was to share, I felt like the Lord wanted me to read from a very special Devotion by Ken Gire called Intimate Moments with The Savior.
Before the meeting began, I was told that Dick was facing yet another surgery. He had already had some of his toes removed, and it appeared that the doctors were going to have to amputate even more from his foot. The diabetes was cutting off circulation, and if they didn't act, gangrene would set it.
My heart was heavy as I opened our time of prayer, and I could see the weight that Dick was carrying on his shoulders. I opened the Devotion to where we had left off the day before. Providentially, we read about the woman with the issue of blood from Mark 5:24-34. After the Scripture passage, Gire writes his interpretation of the events:
"God only knows how much she's suffered. She has lived with a bleeding uterus for twelve humiliating years. She has been labeled unclean by the rabbis and subjected to the Levitical prohibitions 'Orphaned by society.' And orphaned also by God, or so she thinks. She has prayed. She has pleaded. But for twelve agonizing years God has been silent.
"She is destitute now. And being out of money, the doctors finally admit there is nothing they can do for her. Her life is ebbing away. The steady loss of blood over the years has taken its toll. She is anemic, pale, and tired. So very, very tired."
As I read these words, a wave of emotion washed over me. I looked across the table and Dick was stooped over, like an old man carrying a pack that he could barely lift. His eyes were tightly shut, and he was drinking in the details of this sad story. I continued to read:
"She no longer dreams of marriage and a family -- of being taken care of in her old age by loved ones -- of golden memories she can treasure. Her suffering has whisked those dreams into little broken piles.
"But stories of another physician reach down to pick up the pieces of those dreams. A physician who charges no fee. A physician who asks nothing in return. Who has no hidden agenda beyond making a sick world well again.
"She has heard of this physician, this Jesus who comes not to the healthy but to the sick. Who comes not to the strong but to the downtrodden. Who comes not to those with well-ordered lives but to those whose lives are filled with physical and moral chaos.
"She has heard of Jesus' success among incurables -- 'Certainly,' she thinks, 'if I can find this Jesus and but touch the fringe of his garment, I too will be cleansed and made whole.'"
As I conveyed the story, a strange mixture of emotions swept through me. It was as if I could see into the future to experience the struggles that would confront my friend. I was overcome with sadness and I began to weep.
But the words that I read aloud about the love and compassion shown by Jesus to this woman mixed into my sadness a comforting feeling of hope and peace. As I continued, I was suddenly confident that the same loving care that Jesus showed to this woman two thousand years ago would be shown to my friend by a loving God.
"This desperate woman pushes her empty hand through a broken seam in the crowd and, for a fleeting moment, clutches the corner of his garment. Jesus is pulled back. Not by the grasp of her hands so much as by the grasp of her faith. Power leaves him to surge through the hemorrhaging woman, and immediately she feels the rush of her youthful health returning -- How ready Jesus is to respond to the hand of outstretched faith."
I was overcome with the revelation of God's grace and His kindness -- again the tears flowed down my cheeks, and I had to stop reading. I glanced through my clouded eyes at Dick. He, too, had tears, but they were just small pools collected in the corners of his eyes. Dick and his family had cried many tears as they faced the same indignities and humiliations as the woman in the story -- he may not have had any more tears to cry.
But if his ongoing ordeal had made him bitter, he never let us know.
As a matter of fact, Dick was one of the most joyful Christians I knew. He always smiled when we greeted each other in the hall. He was an encourager, giving other employees a word of praise for a job well done. And he was always there when it was time to pray; he knew that the intimate moments with the Savior were what sustained him..
The presence of the Lord was so strong in our little gathering on that day, and I knew God was doing something special. When I finished reading, I asked the others to join me in praying for Dick. We gathered around and laid our hands on this dear man. You could sense him drawing strength from the words of faith that were being lifted up to heaven on his behalf. When we finished, many were wiping tears from their eyes.
As we rose to leave, Dick asked to borrow my Devotion. "I have a feeling I'm going to need to experience more of these intimate moments with the Savior," he declared.
He told me later that he read through the small book several times. He needed to know God's presence -- in the weeks and months that followed, the doctors amputated most of Dick's foot, and then his leg below the knee.
Dick returned to work in a wheel chair. As the year progressed his body slowly succumbed to the disease. His kidneys failed, and he was placed on the donor list for a liver transplant.
But through it all, Dick continued to find strength in the Savior. He made it to work as often as he could; and his work for the Lord at CBN was stellar.
He had recently been re-assigned to a new project within CBN. On his final day of work, he finished all of his tasks from his previous project, cleared his desk, and handed the books to his supervisor. His co-workers gathered around to pray for him and send him off to his new role with a blessing.
Little did they know.
On the final day of his life, Dick took his family to church. After the service, his wife and kids treated him to his favorite restaurant for lunch. Later that evening, as Dick worked at his dining room table, he was given his new assignment -- and his new home.
It was an issue of blood.
Dick had surrendered his life to God. The shed blood of Jesus that purchased Dick's redemption was the life force that sustained him when his own circulation began to fail.
God only knows how much Dick suffered over the years, just like the woman with the issue of blood. Ken Gire finishes the story:
"The crowd blurs in the watery edges of her eyes. For an intimate moment she sees only Jesus. And he sees only her. Face to face, physician and patient. And with the tender word 'Daughter,' he gives this orphan a new home within the family of God. He gives her healing. And he gives her back her dreams."
For my friend Dick, in an intimate moment, God gave him back his dreams -- and a new, glorified body.
Dick's walk with God through the years of pain was an issue of faith. His joy in the midst of the trial was an issue of praise. And his new assignment in the presence of his Lord and Savior was an issue of blood.
Do you want to know the Savior who gave Dick this hope? Learn more here.
More teaching from Craig
#IssueofBlood #Bleeding #Diabetes #KenGire #IntimateMomentswiththeSavior #liver #kidneys #circulation #amputate #amputation #leg #Bible #BibleStudy #BibleTeaching #worship #prayer #Jesus #surgery #doctors #hope