By Jeannie Ewing
For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” And immediately the hemorrhage ceased;
and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him,
immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?” ~ Mark 5:28-30
I sobbed as I noticed more clotting with accompanying pain. For months, I could barely move without substantial pelvic pain – not sit or stand or sleep. Cooking became a tedious chore upon which I relied on small increments of time to complete food prep, then cooking, then serving.
My prayers during that season were simple but desperate: “Jesus, please heal me.” There were days I couldn’t muster anything more than tears, so draining and depleting had the pain left me. And the bleeding, too, was worrisome. Finally, surgery became an option, and an incredible sense of relief washed over me once the date was scheduled.
I expected Jesus to intervene in some dramatic, supernatural sense. It seemed fitting, perhaps, for the intercession of some lone, uncanonized saint who might draw out some inexplicable healing. But it wasn’t Jesus who directly touched me.
Sometimes healing comes from someone else’s hands.
My surgeon, skillful and compassionate, took care to assure me that he knew his gift came from God. His certainty, while not overt or preachy, granted me confidence and peace. When the time arrived for my surgery, I asked myself why God permitted not only my prolonged suffering, but that of so many other women.
I imagined all the hemorrhaging women silently doubled over in pain. I thought of the pleas coming from hollow spaces in weary souls, crying out, “Jesus, if only I can touch you, I know you will save me.”
And His response does not always arrive immediately. In fact, it often is delayed by our standards. But God is always timely in the ways He tends to allow us to linger in uncertain places, to be molded and shaped by what only pruning and purification can provide. When He arrives, He says, “Do not be afraid. Only have faith.”
He knows when our misery touches the cloak of His mercy. If only a breath or a sigh, a tear or a single word, it reaches His heart. And He replies with tenderness.
When we are hemorrhaging, whether physically or at the heart level, Jesus knows when we exit our temporal existence and move beyond it to heaven. This type of union requires no words, no explanation, no particular knowledge. It is a mystical understanding that healing, while mysterious, always happens in some way.
We do not receive healing in the form we expect. Sometimes healing is dramatic, as in the rare circumstance of a saintly intercession. But more often, we are touched by Jesus in subtle, unnoticeable ways. And one day, we realize we have grown into a place of wholeness gradually, gently.
Pain gives way to healing, just as drought gives way to growth. In this earthly pilgrimage, we will find ourselves moving from seasons of consolation to desolation and back again. This rhythm reminds us of the paradox of our Christian faith, that annihilation begets restoration by way of faith in what can be redeemed.
Jesus, you know what most needs to be healed in me. Take my meager offering and multiply it today by way of Your grace.
Call to Action
How can I learn to accept the mystery of my suffering while also anticipating whatever means by which God intends to heal my pain?
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