Desperately Seeking Jesus
The hem of His garment.... was enough to heal a desperate woman afflicted with bleeding for 12 years. Mark 5:25-34 paints the scene beautifully. This woman suffered from such affliction for all that time had used all her resources in failed attempts to seek healing, and was at her wits end with her body. In a crowd of many she KNEW with all of herself that she had to get to Him, that if she could just get close enough to touch even the edge of His garment, the fringe on His robes that she would be healed.
She did and she was.
She was at the end of herself well before, she had exhausted every resource. She was isolated - the culture of religion had deemed her unfit and unclean. She not only felt shunned, she was.
I can't imagine her frame of mind when she had gone through so much.
....and yet in a way, I can. I may not have the same issue as she, but we all have some affliction, pain point, addiction, depression, eating disorder, or problem that feels as though it's lived a life of its own and we’re just following behind it.
Perhaps we feel as though we’ve moved past it, but sometimes even then, it lingers…seems to hover in wait. Maybe it rears its ugly face and tries to take over again.
We move forward and yet it's there. We don't want to live in it or give it life, and yet it feels like it has a life of its own....with us; in us.
I was thinking the past few days about long-suffering- much like we’ve all experienced, much like our friend above. In Greek, this is what falls under "patience", specifically in the fruit of the spirit.
That hits differently, doesn't it? Of course, we're not talking about the short quips of patience we need to dredge up with an unruly toddler or child, with a difficult relationship or bad traffic.... long-suffering feels much bigger. It’s long and big and it feels never-ending.
It’s the thorn in our flesh, a bigger life-sized issue that hovers, that we beg to be pardoned from. I have them. I'm sure you know your own, too.
So after the woman, who was so low in spirit, touched Jesus’ hem He turned and said, “Who touched me?”. His disciples thought it a crazy question, as there was a multitude of people surrounding and following them - how could they know who it was? Imagine being in a crowd at a concert and feeling the brush of someone walking by and asking, “who, specifically, was that?”
That woman’s joy might have plummeted for a moment. See, culture had her deemed “unclean” and there were many rules about things she could do, where she could go, and who she could be around - those rules said, “do nothing, go nowhere, and see/touch no one!!”. These weren’t just little rules - they were foundational rules and we all know those Jewish leaders were serious about consequences…look what they did to Jesus.
She must have been petrified when Jesus turned and asked, “Who was that, that touched me?” because she was about to be found out, but He already knew who it was because He’s Jesus. He wanted her admission, He wanted the continuance of faith in speaking up.
And He confirmed what she already believed with all of her to take such a risk - that she was well and healed, but not that he had made her well or that His fringe had healed her - that her faith had healed her.
Life is hard, we were never promised otherwise, yet we also have it so much easier now. We have complete access to Jesus all the time. We don’t have to follow Him across difficult territories, we don’t have to chase him in crowds and try to grasp His robe.
Because of what He’s done for us, all we have to do is acknowledge Him, and even when we haven’t yet He already knows what we need.
Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Prince of peace knows me. He knows you. And he loves us so much, no matter how unclean we are or have been, and he yearns for us to desperately want, need, and seek him. He can wipe the smears of our pasts, our reputations, our labels, our shame and insecurities, and our maladies with his power through our faith. He will.
So I sit here with my “stuff” and envision myself in that cast of thousands - eyes and heart set on Jesus. Fixed on hope - proverbially bleeding - crying out from inside, yet quiet for fear that someone will notice me in my condition.
Walking forward, squeezing through and between until my hands can just barely reach out for the fringe of His garment. It's given new meaning to the long-suffering, to the life-long battles I've been involved in, it's given a voice to the wailing cries I've poured out to Him to spare us.
I'm that woman. To some extent, I think we all have some of that woman in us.
Let's push through and continue the approach. Our complete healing is in believing that the desperate approach is all that's needed to make us well.
And when He says, "Who was that? Who touched me?" We can stand and say, "It was me, Lord.”