It has been thirteen years since I sat in a doctor’s office and was handed a diagnosis that would become a gaping wound in my life.
This fall it will be ten years since I carried that wound into my marriage.
Infertility has been a deep aching sorrow that has left a trail of blood behind me. No matter where I go– my life is marked by the reality of its presence.
And some days I can handle the pain. Some days I am even thankful for this trial.
But other days are filled with the thrashing out of this agony in my life. I am the blind man, in Luke 18, racing after Jesus with desperation coating my words. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Have mercy on this broken body. Have mercy on my crying heart. Have mercy on the monthly cycles of grief. Have mercy on my shattered dreams. Have mercy on my husband’s sorrow. Have mercy on my empty womb.
In the quiet after my outcries, I whisper the real question– the real beat of my heart:
“Jesus, do you have anything to say?
Anything for me in my sorrow?”
And I stumble into the story of the woman with the issue of blood in Matthew.
She was a woman carrying a gaping wound. Physically, she was leaving a trail of blood, and we can easily surmise that emotionally she was broken down, hurting, in pain.
For twelve years.
She was a suffering-one who was desperate. So she cried out inside and reached out for the only hope she could find.
Were her questions like mine? Were they a cry for mercy, like the blind man? A begging for Jesus to speak to her pain? A wondering if He had anything for her in her sorrow?
And Jesus’s words come pouring off the page– they were spoken to this woman, centuries ago, and also to me.
Take heart, daughter!
The Greek is Tharseó.
Have unflinching courage because you are properly bolstered from within.
This is not the only place where Jesus says, “Take heart!” He says it to the paralytic, as the man’s sins were forgiven. To the disciples, who were afraid. To Paul, who was just pulled from a mob who wanted to tear him to pieces. And to all of us, in John 16:33.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
I am the suffering-one who is desperate– and He says to me, “Take heart.”
I haven’t seen the end yet. Maybe I will be healed in an instant, as the woman was. Or maybe I will carry my suffering to the grave, as so many of the disciples did.
But this I know: I can have unflinching courage because I am properly bolstered from within. The Spirit-of-the-Living-God, the Jesus-Who-Was-and-Is-and-Is-to-Come, by His grace— lives in me. Amen.
And you, dear ones? You who are suffering-ones. You who carry long-term trials.
Emotional trials. Physical trials. Spiritual trials.
He says this to you as well. His words whisper and shout and rain-down with grace:
Take heart, I have overcome the world.
–> If you don’t have the Spirit-of-the-Living-God, if you don’t know the Jesus-Who-Was-and-Is-and-Is-to-Come, if you don’t know His grace… may I tell you the story? I scrawled out the simple version here and wrote the deeper story in a children’s book (that tells the story of God’s heart from the very beginning). If you feel lost in your suffering, He is ready and waiting to meet you.