As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the “Mormon Church” by friends of other faiths) my heart resonated with these words found in a book titled, Be Not Afraid—Only Believe, written by Ted L. Gibbons, and published in 2009 by Cedar Fort, Inc. These words teach a precious truth about our Lord Jesus Christ:
“I have been driven many times to my knees,” said Abraham Lincoln, “by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
When the burdens of life become oppressive and the pains of life become unbearable; when the uncertainties of life become so pervasive that common solutions no longer suffice, and we search our circumstances and find no peace—it is then that we have the great fortune to be driven to our knees. As we kneel there, we learn that the heaviness and pain that drive us to Jesus Christ are not only a source of suffering, but also the seedbed of joy.
Our desperate circumstances, which teach us humility, may one day reveal themselves to be the beckoning hand of the Almighty calling us home (p.1).
Because of our Savior Jesus Christ, we are able to go to our Father and commune with Him in prayer concerning anything that touches our heart. Trials tend to make our call to heaven more of a reality than a routine.
Gibbons went on to describe a woman who went to the Savior for help during her time of need:
As [the Lord Jesus Christ] walked those narrow Capernaum streets, the people surrounded Him and thronged Him (Matthew 9:20–22), each of them with longing, pain, or curiosity. One of them was a woman with an issue of blood of twelve years’ duration. This timid, terrified woman has something to teach us. Her malady is a metaphor, perhaps for the whole human family. Which of us does not suffer from spiritual hemorrhaging, often for more than twelve years?
Leviticus 15:19 instructed the congregation of Israel that a woman with a normal condition of menstruation was to be considered unclean for seven days. If the issue of blood continued beyond the normal time, “all the days of her issue shall be as the days of her separation” (Leviticus 15:25). During that time, anyone who touched her was considered unclean for a day (Leviticus 19:19), and touching the place where she slept or sat would result in the same restriction (Leviticus 15:25–30).
Such descriptions provide an insight into the pattern of life for this woman during the previous twelve years. As a faithful Israelite and follower of the Law of Moses, she must have been in physical isolation, without the comfort of a single caress for 144 months—more than 4,380 days.
She tried to find relief. In Mark 5:26, we are told that she “had suffered many things of many physicians.” Her longing to be cured and to return to a normal life had driven her from doctor to doctor until she had spent all that she had. And the conclusion? “She was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” Somehow, we are not surprised by the results, for this story speaks the sentiments of our hearts. How often in the midst of our own continuing trials do we drift from one useless solution to another? We suffer pain and stress until, like Lincoln, we are driven to the hope of the hopeless, as was the woman in Mark, who was compelled to acknowledge that she had nowhere else to go.
For she had heard of Jesus, the ultimate physician of both soul and body. She knew what we must all come to know. Whatever Jesus lays His hands upon, whatever He touches, will live.
But how was she to approach Him? …this woman spoke not a word. She did not seem to want to call attention to herself. Twelve years as a social pariah must have left emotional scars like canyons. She could not ask for the touch of His hands, because that would make Him unclean.
Thus, in the reclusiveness that her condition must have taught her, she thought, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” (Mark 5:28). And she “came in the press behind, and touched his garment” (Mark 5:27).
She was healed! What an explosion of joy must have rocked her as she felt the miracle! She came to Christ when there was no other place to go, touched his clothes, and became whole.
Jesus felt the touch and knew that it was more than a simple touch. The Savior felt virtue (or power) go out of Him. And so He asked, “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30). Even now the woman did not rush forward to fall at his feet. Rather, when she “saw that she was not hid,” as she had hoped to be (Mark 5:32), she approached “fearing and trembling” (Mark 5:33).
She came, the miracle still burning inside, “and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately” (Luke 8:47).
Jesus saw her kneeling there, perceived her remarkable faith and the goodness of her heart, and said simply, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace” (Mark 5:34) (pages 2-5).
Along with Paul, Mormons believe that if we endure trials, and submit ourselves to God by going to Him in humble prayer, as did this woman, we can say at the end of our mortal probation:
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
I know and believe that as we humbly kneel to God in prayer, we are taking giant leaps towards heaven—every time! I invite you to kneel down and pray, truly pray, to the Father of your spirit, and feel the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ work on your soul and lift the burdens you may have.
Article was written by Ashley
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.