When Desperation Is Good
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
This story of the suffering woman challenges me at a heart level. She came to Jesus full of expectation, in a desperate place, and experienced first-hand healing and restoration. I want to come to Jesus each day full of faith in who He is and what He can do. The suffering woman was at her wits’ end. Perhaps she would not have acted so boldly the first few years she dealt with the bleeding disorder. I’m sure it was pretty embarrassing, even humiliating. She would have been labeled “unclean” in her culture, someone you wouldn’t even want to touch. She was an outcast. What did she miss out on due to this physical condition? I think of all the stages of grief and despair she must have gone through, all the doctor visits that came to nothing, all the money lost, all the hopes dashed year after year. Now she sees a possible chance to have her life back and she is desperate to grab hold of it, no matter what the risk.
The woman is pushing through the crowd, perhaps getting looks of disgust from the people that know her situation. What were they thinking? “Great – now I’m unclean and have to go see the priest. Thanks a lot, Lucy. Do you have to ruin everyone’s day? Why didn’t you stay home where you belong.” No companion is mentioned being there with her. The woman seems to be alone and throwing caution to the wind as she tries to touch just the hem of Jesus’ garment. She doesn’t expect to talk to Him to present her plea…just touch the edge of His robe. She’s extremely humble and filled with an incredible amount of faith in Jesus.
Have you reached that point of desperation in your life? It sounds like a terrible place, so vulnerable, lowly ….and public. It’s a place most of us avoid any way we can. She’d given up any semblance of dignity and no longer seemed to care about the reactions of all the people around her. We crave admiration from others. We want to look good, whole, all together, in control. But, let’s be honest….not one person that has lived on this earth is all those things, quite often we are none of them!
Jesus lived life on this earth as a human, so He understands. And He is also God, so He is powerful enough to change your life and your circumstances. He is the Healer, the Restorer. When we come into contact with Him, either we feel drawn to Him, like the woman here, willing to do anything to know His salvation and healing. Or, He repels us. Isaiah 8:14 mentions that “He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” That verse refers to Jesus long before His human appearance on Earth. It is repeated numerous times in the New Testament. There isn’t much of an in-between. You either love Jesus, or He offends and repels you. Either you are ready to accept that you are not a good person on your own and need a Savior. Or you are still being deceived by God’s enemy, Satan, to believe you are fine and can handle life on your own. It’s my life. I’m in control. No one is going to tell me what to do. I’m not going to go see Jesus walk by.
It can take a long time to reach that point where we are willing to ask for help and decide to be vulnerable with God and those around us. Can you relate? Or maybe it’s just the first few years of your suffering? Do you need another ten years where you are at to decide you’re tired of it? The woman could have just suffered her whole life in hopes of maintaining the little bit of dignity she still had. God loves each of us intensely, but He never forces us to love Him back. He gives us that choice until our dying day. The woman saw a chance to escape what had been a nightmare for over a decade, and would do whatever it took to be healed. If she had to crawl on the street in a crowd, fine. If she bumped into the wrong person and was publicly humiliated, so be it. If she did get to touch Jesus’ cloak and then had to be subject to His wrath about it, she decided it was worth the risk. There seemed to be no doubt though. If she reached Jesus, she would be healed. And she was absolutely right.
The crazy thing is this describes not only how very difficult times of life can lead to huge life changes for each of us, but also how we need to approach Jesus daily – humble, vulnerable, past caring about our reputation and 100% full of expectation. The best times of our lives are the times we connect to the God of the universe because He softened our hearts to His love and care. We then understand the reality of our low position as we truly see our perfect holy, loving Savior. And Jesus responds to us just like He did with the suffering woman. He acknowledges us and sets our hearts at rest.
He asked, “Who touched me” in verse 31. Remember, Jesus is both man and God so He already knows. But He asks so He can address her fear and assure her He wants her healed and well. I love His answer when she risks telling the truth, that it was her that touched his garment. He calls her
Imagine all the names she had been called these past years. Imagine her alienation and constant rejection. In just that one word, Jesus said so much. You are my daughter. You belong. You are loved and valuable. Best of all, you are mine, my family, in a place of honor in your Father’s home. You are not alone and never will be. But then He continues to assure her she truly is healed and from this point on,and can have peace and freedom from suffering.
Do you long to hear these words in your life? Do you want to completely belong to the most loving, perfect, and holy Father? How about peace? Freedom? Healing? Then you’ve come to the right place – Jesus. He has the power and ability to change your life and bring you hope and peace. Don’t wait twelve years! Don’t wait even one! Forget peer pressure and the pride that could keep you from Him your whole life, and fall at His feet. Hear Him call you daughter or son. Allow Him to heal your heart and set you on a new path of peace and hope.