i regret that this account, like many others (due to space limitation), didn’t make it into Walking With The Master. But, praise God, it did make it… into the Gospels. And i think it is an important reminder for us today.
There was a woman who had “suffered much…. She had spent all that she had, and was no better, but rather, grew worse” (Mark 5:25-34). She had nowhere else to turn. No one had been able to solve her problem. Everything she had attempted had been unfruitful. As a matter of fact, much of what the physicians had tried had only made her worse. There was no cure for her problem. The medical community had failed her. The religious community had rejected her (due to her “uncleanness”). Her friends had abandoned her. We can only imagine the pain and isolation she felt. After twelve years, her only remaining companions were her pain and her desperation. That adds up to almost 4400 days of dashed hopes and discourage-filled nights. She was bankrupt financially, physically and emotionally. Most of all, she was bankrupt of hope – save one glimmer.
Somewhere she had heard about Jesus. She had heard how He made the blind to see and the lame to walk. There were even rumors that at His spoken word a storm had been stilled. But surely He wouldn’t have time for her. He was on important business. He was traveling with an important officer of the synagogue. She wouldn’t even be able to get close to Him. Jesus was always surrounded by crowds of people. And the numbers seemed to be even greater that day. How could she possibly speak to Him? She was a nobody. Scripture doesn’t even tell us her name. She was just one of the many nameless and faceless, desperate people in the crowd.
Was it great faith or was it resignation that Jesus was her last resort that brought her to this moment? She had to try. So she mustered what little strength she still had left, and began to make her way through the crowd. She covered herself so that no one would recognize her. She approached Him from behind so that she would be as inconspicuous as possible. Fortunately, the crowd was pressing from ahead and slowing down His progress. It was just enough that she was able to catch up with Him. And she believed that He didn’t even need to speak to her. Perhaps it was somewhat superstitious, but she was convinced that all she needed to do was to touch His garment. She was certain that would be enough to make her well. Jesus was her last hope! And she would not be deterred. She was timid, but committed, and though she was resigned, still yet she was determined.
She pushed her way through the crowd and finally made her way to within inches of Jesus. She carefully reached out her frail hand… and touched His robe. Immediately she knew she was healed. After twelve years of the bondage of this disease, she knew she had been set free. And she stopped. The crowd continued to press forward and move around her. But she knew her quest was over. She had experienced the healing she had come to believe was beyond her grasp.
Then immediately, Jesus stopped and turned around. As He turned, His eyes met hers, and she heard Him say, “Who touched My garments?” Busted! She knew that He knew! With fear and trembling, she fell down before Him. But as she looked into His eyes, she saw a kindness, a gentleness and a compassion unlike anything she had ever witnessed. And she told Jesus what she had done and why.
Lest we forget, Jesus already knew what she had done and why. He already knew who had touched His garment. He knew before the day began that He would encounter her. And like every other encounter Jesus ever had, she had been a part of the Father’s plan for His Son – and for her – on this particular day. Her word of explanation was simply so the crowd would know what had just taken place. Her confession was not for the purpose of enlightening Jesus; it was for the purpose of bringing glory to God. As a result, she didn’t just get physically healed that day, she walked away with peace. Just like the woman at the well, her life had been transformed in but a moment.
So what about us? How many of us are one of those nameless and faceless persons in the crowd – or so we think? How many of us have turned to everything and everyone we know to get relief from a problem in our life, only to have our hopes dashed and our outlook even more darkened? How many of us have tried everything and everyone except the One who truly can make a difference?
The good news is that we don’t need to fight our way through a crowd. He knows what we have need of, but He is just waiting for us to reach out – to touch the hem of His garment. The same peace the woman experienced that day is available to us as well.
You may have been searching for relief or an answer for 4400 days yourself – or maybe longer. My friend, today is the day! Reach out to Him and touch His garment!