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)
It’s strange, to be sick. Almost as if your personality becomes fractured along with the bones and the organs. Part of you wants to talk about what you’re dealing with all the time, never pausing to take a breath. The other part doesn’t want to say a word, for fear of others’ accusatory questions and curious stares.
Stranger still, you get used to the strangeness. As much as I would love to have more energy, stop passing out randomly, get rid of the constant pain in my side, stop taking a handful of pills each night, and never deal with nausea again, it’s…normal. We humans have quite the capacity to accept, adapt, and adjust, if we choose. I’ve reached a point where I don’t like what I face each day, but I’m in the routine of it.
When others read this passage, they wonder why she was afraid to come forward. Her actions make perfect sense to me. She’d been desperate for healing. She pushed her way through a crowd of people just to graze her fingertips against the hem of Jesus’ robe. She broke cultural expectations and norms. She was brave. Daring. Radical.
Her mind probably swirled with questions.
Was it real? Had this truly happened? Would it last?
Would Jesus be mad at her? Would He rebuke her? What would everyone in the crowd think of her?
The deepest one of all: What was she supposed to do now?
Even if you’ve never been truly sick a day in your life, you know that the misery to which you are accustomed is less frightening than the freedom to which you are not. You might complain and grumble, and even loathe the rut that you travel in, but at least you know what to expect. When something changes, especially if that something is a Someone and He’s beckoning you to climb out of that rut and go run across a wild, untamed field with Him, you try to hide. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t initially react this way; fear is rooted in our nature.
Jesus doesn’t just want to know who touched Him. He doesn’t just want to discuss the physical restoration. Now that He has pieced together her brokenness, she has to live in the newness. She is responsible to do something with what she’s been given.
Scary. So scary.
Such a beautiful portrait of the Savior’s love.
The poor patient owns her case, and the benefit she had received: When she saw that she was not hid, she came, and fell down before Him… The consideration of this, that we cannot be hid from Christ, should engage us to pour out our hearts before Him, and to show before Him all our sin and all our trouble.
Throughout the Gospels we see that acts of physical healing are meant to point to the inauguration of God’s Kingdom and the forgiveness of sin. Yes, she was healed, and that was important, but her body would betray her again one day. As she stepped forward, trembling, she stepped into the embrace of Christ, the One who would not abandon her in the anxiety of newness nor in the eventual return to decay and dust. She stepped into the crowd that day in desperation. She then steps forward, casting herself at His feet, in awe.
Her emotions, I feel them. I can place myself in this scene. In fact, this moment plays out now, in my living room, in 2019, despite the lack of physical health. My body spins toward its end faster than I’d like, but my God, He is faithful. That is what she learned in this moment. He is good and perfect and pure and true.
Even when He says “no” to whispered pleas for physical relief.
For all posts in the Sisters series, go here.