It is just moments before I undergo minor knee surgery. Without notice I begin hemorrhaging. This moment is frightening, and I find myself embarrassed, bewildered and fearful of the implications it may hold. Even with modern technology some things are out of our control. The nurse seems as uncertain as I am, and though kind, she offers little comfort. Thankfully I make it through my surgery without any further delay, but this pattern continues once I return home. For the next several weeks I am at the mercy of my own body.
Stretched out on the couch, I begin pondering the woman who walked this similar journey during the time of Christ. My heart sinks as I think of her torment. In comparison my life has only been put on hold for 20 days, I can only fathom the plight of facing this stigma day after day for 12 years.
Unanswered questions taunt me and my compassion is growing for this woman as I continue in her steps. Who was she? How did she feel?
Luke 8:43,44 seems to offer me little background. As I read, I am shocked as her story is bridged within one sentence.
”And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him, and touched the fringe of His (Jesus) cloak; and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.”
Isn’t it funny how we often skim over the hurts of others until we find ourselves facing the same heartbreak or fears?
“To empathize is to have sympathy with understanding.”
I have read this verse countless times but my focus has always been on the result, not the journey. Today my heart encompasses both and as these questions whirl around in my head, they beg answers. I find none.
My empathy is growing and as my sympathy rests, this is my heartfelt attempt to fill in the details of her life.
“FAITH BEYOND THE BLOOD” By Lori Clounie
For days I have felt sluggish. Days turned into weeks, and now years later I find myself still wondering why this horrible and vial misery has sought my life? At first it was personal, the inconvenience of it all. Once the looks began, I knew it was no longer something I could conceal. The volume and mass of my problem brought with it the stench and the smell. “Blood!”
The stigma is almost as bad as the reality. Day in and day out I carry this burden.
What must I have done to bring God’s wrath so vividly, so public?
I question Him and ponder the choices, the clues that will bring forth some answers. Yet even after all this time, silence resounds. It rings louder than any noise in my head. I consider my options. None bring back the dignity I once took for granted. How I long for friends. Just to walk among my people without ridicule or judgment. This day seems far off for me and close to non-existent.
Yet today I hear of a miracle worker.
The crowds invade Him as if they are plundering a great treasure, closing in, ready to take what they can glean. I fear I will never be able to approach such a master of the people. My fear turns into despair and elevates me to proceed with hope. So I walk.
From a far I see that I must be swift in my approach if I am to have any success. My resolve is strong as I study this man’s demeanor. A peace begins to flood my heart and I am certain of His power.
I am nothing that I should want from this man, yet I cannot help myself. “If only I could touch even the hem of His garment?”
My faith pushes me forward. The crowd is thick and intense but I press on. Coming within inches I stretch out my hand while trying to avoid getting trampled upon. I gently feel the hem of His robe. Without pause, I feel an instant rush of power surging through me and healing my body.
Fear begins gripping my heart. “What have I done?”
I turn away hoping to escape though the crowd without detection. I am swift looking to find any way out of this maze. An awkward stillness settles over the crowd. As I glance over my shoulder I see the mob parting behind me and I realize all eyes are directed at me as Jesus approaches.
Jesus asks, “Who touched my garment?”
Certainly He could not know it was I?
He looks into my eyes and reaches through to the depth of my soul shattering the penetrating silence that once stood in its place. I begin to weep.
The blood that overtook my body, my strength and my dignity has been healed indeed, but I find myself wanting more, more than the hem of his garment, wanting the entire man.
I long for His acceptance, His love and His approval.
I believe in His forgiveness, His power, His strength.
Instantly I see beyond the obvious. Others see a prophet or man of healing, but I see Him as God.
I desired healing within my body and found resolution within my heart. I touched His hem, He touched my soul. I am healed.
“And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him, and touched the fringe of His cloak; and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.
And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master the multitudes are crowding and pressing upon You.”
But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.”
And when the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Dear friends, may you too find yourself wanting more; more of this man called Jesus, who heals, who loves, who accepts and who forgives. Today may you find enough courage to trust Him and walk forward, pressing on in your faith!