I WILL SURVIVE
As the season of Spring provides us with beauty for the eyes and fragrance in the air, we are reminded that all living things are renewed. Trees and shrubbery that were once bared by the blanket of Winter are now fully clad in their vestment of green hue. Flowers, both beautiful and fragrant, have struggled to make their entrance into the world after a season of slumber in the dark of soil and cold. Hope appears just when many of us have silently uttered to ourselves, "what is the use in continuing" or wondered will our presence in the world really matter or ever make a difference?
Since the beginning of time to the present day, human beings have made incredible advancements in Science, Medicine, Technology, and, Psychology. However, the one existential issue that still seems to plague each of us is that of something so basic, yet visceral, namely survival. Each and everyday that we encounter the news, we get stanch glimpses of the myriad of ways that this whole dynamic of survival gets played-out in the lives of the rich and poor; the white, black, yellow, and red; the famous and the unknown; the controllers of power and those oppressed by such power; the strong and the weak; the embraced and those for whom an embrace is feared; the restored and the broken; the accepted and heralded; the rejected and the outcast.
Beneath the basic pulsating drive of the survival of all living things is the dynamic of immortality verses extinction. Life is a gift we are told to open with gratitude, gentleness, and mindfulness. Commensurately, life may present many of us with a range of circumstances that appear insurmountable. Circumstances that have the propensity to impact not only our lives, but the lives of others both directly and indirectly profoundly. We are impacted on a daily bases by the increase in the cost of living and the deterioration in the quality of life. While some persons struggle to meet the obligation of their utility expenses, still others struggle to figure out from whence will come their next meal. While some persons struggle to pay a monthly automobile expense, still others struggle with the issue of displacement which might be a consequence of unemployment and/or foreclosure on their homes. While some persons have little to no regard for lives that do not impact their microcosmic world, still others' lives hang in suspense because no one desires to stand up and advocate for their rights. While the United States is a land rich in resources and prosperity, still far too many United States citizens are unable to become empowered by their basic constitutional rights, but are left destitute and outcast!
Such an avalanche of life changing events can cause even the most grounded human being/Christian to question his/her survival if the "bottom falls out." While many persons project high confidence and might render the impression to others, that anxiety is not in their story, when he/she sits alone, the reality that 24 hours can radically change the rest of one's life forever looms ever presently, if the truth were revealed.
As the events unfold in the text of Matthew, Chapter 9, we are rendered a stanch glimpse of the collision of the triumph of hope over the experience! Though this pericope is brief in narration, it is pregnant with possibility and endowed with a sense of struggle and the will to live abundantly in the power and the presence of the LORD as evidenced by its content! Subsequently, as the events unfold, we become witness bearers to an unnamed woman who yearns for healing and quests for deliverance from twelve long years of suffering. As she recognizes that JESUS is present, it is likely that she recollects via flashbacks, her twelve years of suffering, praying, disappointments, fears, letdowns, betrayals, and watching others receive their blessings, all of which became days that have acquiesced into nights, nights that have acquiesced into days. For the unnamed woman, she was plagued with an issue of blood for twelve long years, yet for many of us we too are plagued with issues that angst us, some of which we harbor shame, shame that is never uttered, by held and cogitated in the deep recess of our souls. Help us GOD!
What this unnamed woman offers each of us is a reality check that when we have come to a place in our journey when we feel or believe that GOD has forgotten about us and when the road on that journey appears to be spiraling into more ambiguity and hopelessness, it is in this place that GOD comes to us! GOD is always present to us even at those times when it becomes difficult to sense his presence. In the 1939 movie based on L. Frank Baum's The Wizard Of OZ, we are reminded that GOD'S presence is always present to us when we reflect upon the scene when Dorothy and her cohorts are on their way to Emerald City. While success was on their horizon, the Wicked Witch of the West, decided place a field of poppy seed flowers before them to induce sleep. Subsequently, as the events unfold, we become witness bearers to a translucent and iridescent image of Glinda the Good Witch who over shadows the poppy seed field causing it to snow and awakening Dorothy and her sleeping cohorts! Moreover, the Scarecrow bellowed out the fears that many of us have uttered in one word that gets at a state of our threaten survival, namely, "HELP!"
What both the Wizard Of Oz and the Woman with an Issue of Blood illuminates for each of us is there are many instances when our survival becomes so threaten either we are seduced to sleep from the depression of having our survival repeatedly threatened or we have are impacted by blood-related issues that impact our quality of life like that of the Woman with an Issue of Blood. Further reflection on the Biblical narrative illustrates that this woman was dealing with an issue of life and death as blood is the life-force of the body. However, the great news is that we are one in the bond of love for he whose blood is the key to abundant life and he whose blood was shed for the remission of sin!
While this narrative does suggest that this unnamed woman was dealing with a blood-related issue, it also implies that the quality of her life was significantly impacted by such. In essence, she was uncertain if she would survive, but when she saw JESUS, the words "I can't take it any longer" were transformed into the words, "I Will SURVIVE!" These words were not so much articulated via her mouth as they were via her attitude, action, and ability to stretch herself even further in her suffering and ambiguity once she encountered Jesus! When we encounter Jesus in our suffering and when everything familiar to us is at risk of not surviving, Jesus touches us in a way that causes our suffering and brokenness to become the launch pad that catapults us to higher and greater dimensions in the LORD! In other words, your weakness becomes your strength, your brokenness becomes your fortress, and your faith because the certainty!
For this unnamed woman her survival was an issue as it related to twelve years of suffering. This narrative presents each of us as witness bearers with a similar inquiry, namely, "What thoughts, What beliefs about ourselves, What undisclosed hopes, prayer, and longing do we harbor that impact the quality of our survival because we await deliverance form the LORD? Throughout the sacred text; i.e., from the book Genesis to the book of Revelation, we as the Beloved Community of GOD are petitioned to embrace the spiritual necessity that the Divine Journey will call into question, one's survival. Oftentimes, the threat of survival accompanies the life of him/her who thirsts, follows, and is compelled by the intimately transformative presence of GOD. However, the threat of survival summons anxiety and fear in the believer as we have trepidation that the requirements will be great and the cost quite high! While we embrace the reality that an aspect of the spiritual experience is about euphoric rejoicing, we attempt and desire to stay clear and avoid the aspect of the spiritual life that requires our embrace of survival threat! The consolation of the journey accompanied by the question of survival is that YOU are NEVER ALONE BELOVED of GOD! ABSOLUTELY NEVER! NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS...GOD! NO MATTER WHAT DOES NOT HAPPEN...GOD!
Far too frequently, many of the Beloved of GOD are dismayed, while others are disconcerted, still even others abducted by fear when events and plans do not occur according to plan. Moreover, such distress is ignited like wildfire by the harsh reality when fear, disappointment, loss, and suffering occur when the Beloved of GOD encounters threats. Threats are couched it "It might happen, It could happen, It is likely to happen, and/or What if it did happen," while our faith in GOD is couched in NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS! The Woman with the issue of blood illuminates for each of us that he/she who has the will to survive must be willing to embrace the reality of risk commensurately. Despite her being outlasted, shamed, discouraged, misunderstood, prevented from equal access to opportunity, and despised, her suffering becomes the strength that ensures her capacity to survive once she has made conscious contact with JESUS!
Throughout the Holy Text, we are witness bearers to the reality that quite often a companion of transformation and spiritual enlightenment is the presence of threat. What an ironic statement we ponder silently, even right now in reading this reflection many of use are wondering how will those things which appear to keep us binded ever release their hold on our ability to surge forth? When we as witness bearers observe the interaction of Adam and Eve and their interface with the Tree of Knowledge, we witness the interplay of the threat of survival. When we as witness bearers observe The Call of Abraham, the promise to Sarah, and the Promise to Hagar from JEHOVAH, we witness the interplay of the threat of survival! When we as witness bearers observe the plight of Joseph in having been left in a well, sold, and betrayed, we witness the interplay of the threat of survival. There are numerous occurrences of this reality. The poignant and compelling question remains: Why is it for so many Christians does this occurrence become disconcerting?
As we look at current events, both nationally and internationally, injury, destruction, suffering, and the pleasure principle are all at pandemic levels. Sensitivity, patience, morality, the necessity of being our brothers' and sisters' keepers, the honoring of those in their senior years, the feeding of the hungry, team work, the sheltering of the homeless, the liberation of the oppressed, and the readiness to die to CHRIST are all being sacrificed, because the dynamic of survival threat accompanies the aforementioned. We deepen our faith walk and our relationship with CHRIST when our journey is accompanied by such threats. The spiritual life in CHRIST causes each of us to take risks, walk out on cliffs, venture down unknown paths, abandon that which is familiar and predictable, stand against the crowd, and remain loving and forgiving in the face of betrayals and trap layers! This is the PASSION! This is THE CALLING! When we abandon the parameters of human reason alone and "tap" the consciousness of GOD, our lives become transformed in our realization that our lives are really not our own, but gifts birthed by the unfathomable love of GOD! The Holy Spirit causes something to happen to us, with us, and in us as we know that victory and triumph can only come from divine intervention via the LORD! The threat of survival provokes the Beloved of GOD to go to the mountain top, see the danger, and the carnal end, while commensurately looking into the windowpane of eternity. Consequently, the Beloved is transformed like the face of Moses and like the garments of CHRIST!
ISAIAH 55: 11
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Plethora MinistriesPlethora Ministries
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