While He was going, the crowds were nearly crushing Him. A woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years, who had spent all she had on doctors and yet could not be healed by any, approached from behind and touched the end of His robe. Instantly her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are hemming You in and pressing against You.”
“Someone did touch Me,” said Jesus. “I know that power has gone out from Me.” When the woman saw that she was discovered, she came trembling and fell down before Him. In the presence of all the people, she declared the reason she had touched Him and how she was instantly healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
– Luke 8:42b-48 (CSB, emphasis mine)
I wonder what she felt in that moment.
Twelve years of bleeding. Men, my brothers, I love you, but you don’t understand. You have no idea what that would be like to live with. Women, we know. We grasp the full horror of unrelenting cramping, back pain, bloating, fluctuations in skin tone and texture, lack of energy, and moodiness. We read her story and we know that she was unclean, not just on a ceremonial or cultural level, but genuinely, physically unclean, no matter the precautions she took, no matter how many times she washed herself.
And then…it’s done. Gone.
Did she snatch her hand back from the hem of His robe as if she’d been bitten by a snake? Or did she let it linger? Did she remain rooted to the spot, crouched down, half-hidden by the crowd? Or did she stand and try to melt away? Did she understand what had happened? Or was she too afraid to accept the impossible until she could get home and see for herself?
The Holy Spirit inspired and guided the authors of Scripture to record everything necessary for us to come into right relationship with God. Instructions, if you will, that tell us how to unwrap the gifts of holiness, life, and salvation. I think He also guided them to leave out certain details. Maddening, at times, because I have so many questions, but He is always wise. Clever, too, because, without these details, we have just enough room to insert ourselves into the scene. Not to alter the meaning or setting of the text, mind you (never, ever do that or I’ll find you and force you to sit through a really long lecture on exegesis and hermeneutics), but so that we can grapple with what the lesson involved means for us.
And this lesson hurts. I admit it. Because, you see, I have not received healing, either through sudden Divine intervention or through God’s work through medicine. There is no “instantly.” Just a continued long slog through muddy, sticky bogs that will eventually consume me.
Saw the doctor to discuss my blood test results. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight the last few months, weight I didn’t need to lose. He’s not overly concerned right now, but a few more pounds shed won’t be good. I’m definitely verging on the “too thin” look. Posted some pictures on Instagram following a weekend barbecue and thought, “Gosh, my legs look twiggy.” But somehow my cholesterol has gone up? Explain that one to me when I mostly eat rabbit food in bird-sized portions? (If I eat too much or too fast, it reappears in an unpleasant fashion). And while my liver function remains in the “crappy, but good for you because you’re a weirdo” category, my thyroid function is sliding toward abnormal, except it’s the abnormal end that usually has weight gain associated with it.
Marie Louise, Medical Mystery.
Awesome. (I wish there was a sarcasm font).
As I drove away from the office, shaking my head, the Holy Spirit said the words He’s said many times throughout this four-and-a-half year long journey: You can freak out or you can trust Me. And I know that freaking out is pointless. I know that all I can do is exercise, enjoy my limited diet, sleep as much as I need to, and continue to trust that He’s holding me close.
But I won’t lie.
I’d like that instant healing.
Tears sting my eyes. Not for me, not really, but for her. I am grateful that this woman, this sister of mine, got to experience the release. I hope I encounter her one day, when Christ returns and Earth and Heaven are made one. I want to know what she did with the rest of her life. I want to know how she used her new freedom. I want to hear the rest of the story.
As for me, right now, I keep my hand tucked in His, knowing that He is here, always and instantly.
For all posts in the Sisters series, go here.