Remember her? We were never told her name; all we knew about her was that she had had the same problem for over 12 years. She had spent lots of money on doctors and all sorts of treatments, but nothing had worked. This was her last hope, her last chance.
Some of you might know who I’m talking about now. For those of you who don’t, here’s a quick recap.
There was a certain woman many years ago who had a health problem. Her periods had been continuous for about 12 years. Yes, you read it right. I don’t mean she had had them monthly, fortnightly or weekly. She had been ‘on’ nonstop for 12 years.
Let’s come back to these modern times of credit and its crunching. And imagine the slight irritation you feel when you’re shopping for groceries. On a tight budget. And you pick up your product of choice, knowing that this is the one item you cannot cross off your shopping list, no matter how budget conscious you are. And then you heave a sigh of relief as you also realise you only need to make this purchase every 28 (or 21 days in my case), but I digress.
Now back to the past. Imagine how much money it would have cost her to keep herself decent enough to have appeared in public. There wasn’t the luxury of disposable products then, so it must have cost her a fortune to constantly launder and replace whatever it was that she did use.
Anyways, she heard about this guy who was said to go about performing miracles of healing and of feeding. So she decided to try. One last time.
He had quite a large following, thousands accompanied him wherever he went. He had 12 students too, who looked up to and were inspired by him. He had no fixed place of abode, neither did he have a fixed location where he conducted his services. He did not tie his miracles to the level of financial donations made by his followers, neither did he single any one of them out for being holders of one public office or the other. He had no set formula for his teachings, nor a specified timescale for starting or finishing them. He taught as he was lead by the Holy Spirit, and made references to the texts of prophets who had lived before him.
This woman decided she would go to see him. So she went. And struggled through the crowds to reach him. She didn’t want to attract any attention, but she believed deep within her that if she only touched his clothes, she would be healed of her terrible ailment. And she pressed on through the multitudes till she got close enough to his back, and then she touched the hem of his clothes. From behind him. And instantly, she was healed. She felt the flow of blood stop. Instantly.
The teacher turned around immediately, as he had felt power going out from him. He asked who had touched him. And she owned up, eventually. He prayed over her, and sent her on her way.
And now, back to these our present times. Let’s imagine what would have happened today. In these days of mega congregations in our churches. Where almost every sermon is interspersed with mention of how many thousands attended the last mega conference. And preachers are accompanied by security details rivalling that of Barack Obama. Complete with dark glasses, black suits, earpieces and walkie talkies.
A woman comes into church, not in search of ‘breakthroughs’, financial prosperity or ‘wealth transfer’, but just simple old fashioned healing. She’s spent all her livelihood on doctors and treatments, but nothing has worked so far. She’s lost many jobs due to the draining nature of her ailment. And is now dependent on state benefits most of which is spent on sanitary products. So she’s not the most fashionably dressed, neither is there any confidence in the way she carries herself.
She gets into church early, and tries to go to one of the pews near the front, ass there are still quite a few empty spaces. But she is spotted by one of the ushers, who quickly directs her to one of the pews nearer the back. For we now live in the days of live television broadcasts, and she doesn’t quite fit in with the image of a prosperous congregation. She might have gotten a better chance if she were a different colour to the majority of the congregation, for that would have highlighted the diversity of the congregation to the millions of viewers, but unfortunately for her, her face doesn’t quite fit the criteria.
So she strains to even see the preacher from where she sits. She hears him going on about open heavens, the financial rewards of being a ‘faithful steward’ and the importance of sowing financial seeds.
She waits to hear him talk about healing and deliverance, but that doesn’t seem to be on the agenda for today. He talks about God being a God of abundance and plenty, but doesn’t make reference to the son who died so healing would be available to people like her. She hears the altar call for sinners to repent and give their lives over to the Saviour. And also hears them being asked for their details so they can be added to the church’s database of attendees. And she waits for service to end, just so she can go up to the preacher and ask for a prayer of agreement that she be healed from her disease.
Service ends, and she struggles to the front. The preacher is sitting in his chair, having a glass of water to relieve his thirst from preaching such an inspiring message. She tries to approach him but is stopped by one of his ‘security guards’ who raises his hand in a clear warning. She bides her time while acknowledging to herself that preaching can be tiring, and she must give the preacher time to recover.
So she waits till he stands up, ready to head back to this office. She approaches him once again, but this time can hardly see him as he is right in the midst of his burly security personnel. So in desperation, she reaches out her hand, and tries to touch the hem of his Saville Row (mentioned during his sermon) suit. Instantly, she feels a floating sensation, and begins to think to herself that this is what healing must feel like. Until she realises she has been swept into the air by overzealous security guards who are in the process of carrying her bodily out of the church, as she has been deemed to be a threat to the safety of their boss.
Mr preacher in the meantime is being hustled away quickly, and doesn’t even look back to see what the matter is.
And she is left outside the shut church doors, wondering.
Constance and Fred were friends, and had been for as long as either of them could remember. In fact they were so close their spouses and families had become very close. You get the picture I’m sure. As fate would have it, they both left home and went abroad to study. Fred was able to take his family with him; Constance was on her own in the same town, so often went to lunch at Fred’s at weekends etc.
Now this isn’t going where you think, so reign your imaginations in now now. They happened to be pursuing their Masters’ degrees in the same area of study, but Constance had started some months earlier, so was ahead of Fred. They helped
each other out whenever they could, in short, everything was hunky dory.
Constance was fortunate enough to secure a highly sought after position with a reputable firm in the Telecoms industry (which is what they were both studying towards), while Fred worked as a casual employee as a call handler for a local gas company. They often discussed their day to day tribulations at work with each other, which is what friends do.
Constance was doing quite well at work, and there was already talk of offering her a permanent contract on the completion of her studies, and she happily shared the news with Fred. Then came in a new manager who did not seem to ‘get’ Constance. He nit picked over everything she did, criticised her at every turn, and seemed to be out to undermine her at every turn.
So over lunch that Sunday at Fred’s, she poured her heart out to Fred and his wife, and they listened sympathetically. Fred told her she was worth a lot more than the way she was being treated, and that she should consider resigning and seeking alternative employment elsewhere. After all, she now had gained enough experience within the firm, and would be able to get a job with another firm easily. Constance thanked him for his advice, and said she would give it some consideration.
Come Wednesday at work, the new manager called her into his office. She went in with a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, wondering what she was going to get told off for this time. She was surprised when he offered her a seat with a broad smile, and asked why she was thinking of leaving the firm. Shocked, she replied that she had no such intentions.
He then told her she was a highly valued member of staff, and that he had only been hard on her to get her to fully use the potential he saw in her. He said the firm had been in the process of arranging a pay rise for her, and that he hoped his past behavior would not prevent her from committing to the firm long term.
He thanked her for all her hard work, and while she was still in a daze over the unexpected turn of events, and wondering how soon she could sneak away to call Fred and gist him, he handed her a print out, and told her to read it when she had a spare moment.
Later that day, she settled down to read the print out. It was a job application for her specific role. The applicant stated that he was prepared to work without pay for the first six months while he proved himself. He concluded by stating that he was aware that the current post holder was in the process of leaving the job, as she had secured a position with a rival firm. Mouth open in amazement, Constance skimmed through the rest of the application to see who had fabricated such lies.
The accompanying CV was that of her ‘best’ friend, Fred!