“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.” - Mark 5:34
I don’t think there’s anyone in all of scripture I relate more to than this woman. As someone dealing with their own chronic condition, I know how debilitating and frustrating it can be to have constant symptoms, the isolation and disappointment at having to cancel plans or not be able to do the things I want to do.
What I don’t fully grasp, is the ostracization this woman was subjected to by her community, since her chronic condition was an issue of blood. She was seen as unclean and therefore unable to fully participate in her community. After the past few years, I think we can all understand the feelings of isolation and loneliness she must have felt a little better.
This woman was seeking healing both of her physical ailment, but also the ability to return to normal life. That search for inclusion, for healing of shame (whether warranted or not), is one of our deepest human needs.
So, why this woman? There were lots of people pressing up against Jesus that day, but none of them were healed. What made her any different from the rest of them? It was as Jesus said, her faith. She truly believed that even by just touching the hem of Jesus’ garment she would be made well, and she was.
People brush up against Jesus all the time, through tv and movies, books, and other media that quotes or misquotes his teachings. We meet him in church, in his word, in other Christians - yet how often do we stop to think about the one whom we encounter? How often do we intentionally seek him out?
I don’t know how far this woman traveled simply to meet Jesus, but I do know she fought her way through a bustling crowd. She knew he could heal her, that even the hem of her garment could do so. She had an amazing faith, and it was rewarded by healing.
This brings us to an enduring question: Why is not everyone who has faith healed? Does my prolonged pain mean that I don’t have enough faith?
Speaking from personal experience, I have been amazed at the work God has done on my soul through my condition. In the face of ongoing pain, my faith has grown, not shrunk. I know he has the ability to completely heal me in an instant, just as this woman was healed, but I’ve learned that for me, bodily healing is the least important kind.
Faith in Christ heals our shame. Wrapped in his forgiving blood, our sins are wiped away and we are left blameless in the eyes of God. We are freed from the snares of self-loathing and guilt, and able to fully enjoy our earthly communities, as well as one day join our eternal one.
Dear heavenly Father, I ask that you grant me great faith, as this woman had. I ask that you heal me from whatever spiritual, emotional, or physical issues I face, but most importantly I ask that you forgive me of my sins and heal me of my guilt and shame. In Jesus name, Amen.