Have you seen the movie "Unbroken" yet? My husband and I saw it shortly after Christmas, and we were incredibly touched by the story of Louis Zamperini's life. In the face of great physical and emotional turmoil, he persevered. Eventually, he came to know true peace through the power of forgiveness and a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Like Mr. Zamperini, the woman in the Gospel today persevered through her own physical and emotional pain.
I have often wondered about this nameless woman suffering horribly from hemorrhages. We really do not know much about her. What caused her illness? Was she outcast from her family and community? How did she first hear about Jesus? Did she have anyone she could talk to amid her pain and confusion?
I can only imagine how lonely and desperate she must have felt. Scripture tells us she had spent all she had on many different physicians and it never helped her condition, but her health continued to decline and worsen. But somehow in her pain and suffering, she continued to persevere. She continued to seek healing and help, which eventually led her right to the feet of Jesus. Pushing her way through the crowds, she desperately sought to get as close to Jesus as she possibly could and thinking, "If I can only get close enough to touch him, even if just the tip of his garment. There is something about this man. Perhaps he will heal me, will make me whole again."
No matter our life circumstances or trials, we are all like this nameless woman in the Gospel today. Suffering, trials, and trauma can either leave us broken and beaten or healed and restored. Mr. Zamperini almost was consumed by his anger and bitterness towards his captors. The nameless woman almost gave up all hope of ever being healed. The book of Hebrews reminds us what made people like Mr. Zamperini or this woman different, it was that they continued to run with perseverance the race that was set before them. They never gave up, even when they stared hopelessness in the face.
Is there a particular saint you admire or love who can encourage you to greater perseverance where you need it most in life? Ask him or her to bless you with an abundance of hope today.
There are so many stories of average people like you and I who allowed the difficult situations in life to transform their entire life. From Immaculée Ilibagiza to Saint Rita, we are truly surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses to encourage us on the journey of life.
And you, where are you in life today? Are you struggling to find hope or persevere in running the race set before you? Don't give up! Do not grow weary or tired.
Patty Hubbard is a new-ish wife finishing grad school, working in youth ministry, and learning to cook more than your average Lean Cuisine. You can find out more about her here.