Beating the Odds is a common sports phrase. Michel Oher, subject of the film, The Blindside, has a book out entitled “I Beat the Odds.” Another football giant, Rocky Blier, the former all-pro running back who played for all those championship Pittsburg Steelers teams in the ‘70s, began a foundation called “Beating the Odds.” The motto of the foundation is this: “The Power to succeed in the face of obstacles comes from within.”
The woman with the “issue of blood” had an issue she couldn’t solve. Her determination to get to Jesus, to succeed in reaching the only hope she had, the power to succeed in the face of obstacles, came from within. She was stuck in a no-win situation and her faith was her only ticket out.
She is described as a “woman in the crowd (who) had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse” (New Living Translation).
This no-name, nobody – this silent, sickly woman came out of nowhere. She seemingly had nothing going for her, and everything and everyone was against her. First, she was a woman. An ancient Jewish Rabbinic prayer was this: “Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” (Morning Blessings, Artscroll Siddur, p. 12.) Jewish tradition honored the birth of a male child. Women were not honored and were resigned to be keepers of the home and be their husband’s helpmeet. Second, she was without a husband, or at least no husband is mentioned. Third, she was sick. No family is mentioned, and even though she spent all she had, she may not have had much to spend. The odds were against this nameless, faceless, penniless invalid woman in the crowd.
Enter Jesus. Jesus is the reason we can beat the odds against us. “She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, ‘If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.’ Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition” (Mark 5:27-29). She reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was made whole. After finding out who it was that was in desperate need of a touch, Jesus said “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over” (Mark 5:34).
Wow. What a word! “Your suffering is over.” This woman beat the odds. With determination and desperation, with faith and fervor, she beat the odds against her. And you can too.
Another book entitled “Beating the Odds” is also worthy of mention. Excerpts of the summary are below.
Today, young Black men are more likely to be killed or sent to prison than to graduate from college. Yet, despite all the obstacles, some are achieving at the highest academic and professional levels.
Beating the Odds tells their remarkable stories and shows us what African American families have done to raise academically successful sons, sons who are among the top two percent of African American males in terms of SAT scores and grades. The result of extensive and innovative research, Beating the Odds goes beyond mere analysis–and beyond the relentlessly negative media images–to show us precisely how young Black men can succeed despite the roadblocks of racism, the temptations of crime and drugs, and a popular culture that values being “cool” over being educated.
By interviewing parents and children from a range of economic and educational backgrounds and from both single and two-parent homes, the authors identify those constants that contribute to academic achievement and offer step-by-step guidance on six essential strategies for effective parenting:
strong limit-setting and discipline;
Continually high expectations;
Open, consistent, and strong communication;
Positive racial identity and positive male identity; and
Full use of community resources.
The proof of the effectiveness of such strategies is in the sons themselves, who speak eloquently in these pages about their struggles and successes in both the classroom and the often hostile world that surrounds it.
Essential reading for parents, teachers, and school administrators, Beating the Odds offers insight, guidance, and hope for anyone concerned about the plight of young African American men and the society they live in.