Q. You talk a lot about 'walking in freedom', how do you do that when you're constantly in pain?
My son's allowing me to share his personal struggle to answer this one. Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's, is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
My son, now in his early twenties, has grown up stuck in the haze of AS. Brilliant, but too slow in his responses for people to actually listen. As a mom, it has taught me what caring for someone really looks like. To stop everything and be present is one of the most difficult things for us to do. Our world is so fast paced and FOMO (fear of missing out) has become very real.
As I traveled through what had landed me in need of a rebound, I discovered that it wasn't that I couldn't speak, but rather I couldn't get it out. So at times, people or situations would move on without me. There were simply places where the pain was deep and I need time and courage to cough it up and life didn't grant me that luxury. Over time I came to see God as I saw people. I didn't trust that God, in all of His busyness, could give me that kind of time. Interestingly enough, here's what the Spirit pointed me to and I pray it's helpful to you.
"The woman with the issue of blood is a familiar often preached on passage. Her desperation, the belief in the power of even the hem of His garment to heal, her determination to get to Him. There's so much to glean from, but God in my personal search revealed this: "But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, TOLD him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
She told him the whole truth ... twelve years of what was pent up inside of her. And though the scripture doesn't say it outright, the implication is HE LISTENED. Jesus in the middle of a miracle with a prominent leader's daughter, stopped everything to hear her truth. I can only imagine how it came out. Fumbling over words, a floodgate of rushing words or a little dribble at a time we'll never know, but this is God showing us that he cares. He will wait for us when we get stuck.
My son for years believed he wasn't good at school because he couldn't keep up with the pace in which the teacher was insisting he work. The struggle to grasp the words, decipher their meaning and then implement them, were viewed as defiance. The shutdown alienated him, pushing him further into himself. At first, I too tried to get him to speed up, to be like everyone else. To study longer and try harder. I have learned, as his proud mom, that we are all different, facing different challenges. I learned to slow down and listen, knowing that sometimes it may take awhile. But because I care, I wait.
God cares, and he heals us not just from what physically hurts us, but also the internal damage and pain that has taken us captive during the struggle. Jesus, obviously knew who touched him and was not unfamiliar with her truth, so the telling of her story was not for him, but for her. Go and be freed from your suffering was a release from all suffering.
Many of us have been released from the physical suffering we've endured; abuse, illnesses or loss, but are trapped holding on inside to the prison that once held us captive. Freedom almost always brings a sense of elation and relief. However, adjusting after being held hostage can be just as difficult as abruptly leaving it. There is a huge transition from conditions of isolation and helplessness to sensory overload and freedom. This transition often results in significant adjustment difficulties.
But our God heals completely! Jeremiah 30: 17, "'But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the Lord." He restored her to health (the bleeding stopped immediately). She had received her miracle so he could have stopped there, but he promises more than what we know to ask for, "and heal your wounds." She said, "if I touch his clothes, I will be healed." It's possible that she was just seeking a physical healing, but thank God he hears more than our words. The writer in Mark takes the time to inform us that not only had she been in this condition for 12 years, but "she had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse."
The emotional, financial, social, and spiritual suffering was equally as great, even if she was unaware of it. Sometimes we can't pinpoint what we're feeling. She needed to tell her truth (get it all out) and part of her healing was knowing that Jesus listens.
That's how we walk on, after deep challenges, in freedom.