By Alece Van Rensburg
The woman bled for 12 years straight. Physician after physician shrugged their shoulders. She’d given up all hope of ever getting better. But then she heard about Jesus. The miracle worker. Desperate, she knew she had to get to Him.
As she clamored and clawed her way through the crowd, on her hands and knees, she carried with her much more than her illness. She carried her shame. As if in a bag over her shoulder, she dragged along a heavy burden of rejection and fear. She is referred to as the “woman with the issue of blood,” but her issues ran much deeper than that. Her physical ailment made her an outcast in her own culture. Her emotional hurts and scars were far worse than her physical ones.
Finally catching up to Jesus, she reached out and frantically, yet faintly, grabbed the hem of His robe. Immediately, she was healed. Jesus turned around and faced the crowd.
“Who touched Me?”
She “told Him the whole truth” (Mark 5:33, TNIV). “She told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed” (Luke 8:47). Jesus cared enough to listen to her story. The long version. He just let her talk. He was on His way to heal a dying girl. People were rushing Him. Pressing Him. Insisting He keep going before it’s too late. He silenced them long enough for her to tell her story.
When she finished talking, He responded by calling her “Daughter.” It’s the only time recorded that He addressed someone that way. The love she felt in that one simple word must have been overwhelming. After pouring out her heart–things she’d kept in for so long–He responded with pure affection. Gentle yet aggressive love.
If Jesus’ aim was simply to heal her, He would have kept walking after she touched Him. The moment she touched His robe, she was healed. If that was all He was concerned about, He wouldn’t have stopped, talked and listened. But He did all those things. I think He wanted to let her talk. To tell her story. He wanted to call her “Daughter.”
For that is when her heart was healed.
He wanted to heal more than her body. His aim all along was to heal her heart. When He was talking to her, I can just picture Him looking her in the eyes. And making her look into His. The healing began as, face-to-face, His love was visible, and it resonated within her soul. It broke down walls. Shattered barriers. Smashed through the defenses she’d lived behind for so long. His love broke through with a simple gaze, a listening ear and undivided attention.
It wouldn’t have helped that He healed her physically but left her to still carry around the hurt from her 12 years of rejection and disgrace. Despite her physical healing, she probably would have continued to stay holed-up in her house. She would have been the same cowering little girl she had always been, still dragging her bag of shame behind her. But as Jesus looked into her eyes, He saw the woman He created her to be, and He wasn’t content to leave her drowning in her pain.
The greatest healing isn’t the miraculous cure of her incurable disease. It is the passionate healing of her heart.
And it all began with the faintest touch of the hem of His robe.
God’s primary concern is still the condition of hearts. Physical health and a blessed life pale in comparison with a restored soul. God’s heart hurts for our hurting hearts.
He still brings love, grace and healing through a touch of the hem of His robe.
And we are the hem of His robe.
That means we have to move among those who need heart healing. It means we need to purposefully spend time in the slums of our world, amongst those who are downtrodden. Disregarded. Defeated. Discarded. We need to be willing to rub shoulders with the unlovely and the unlovable. We must get down from our high and lofty positions of pride, selfishness and self-righteousness, and mingle with the commoners.
After all, we are but commoners ourselves. Commoners that Christ took time for.
Embrace what the hem of His robe did for you. Allow God to cup your face in His hands, gently turning it so that you are looking Him full in the face. Tell Him your story, and hear Him call you “Daughter.” “Son.” “Precious child.”
Out of the overflow of that divine embrace, you can be His arms to those who need a hug. You can be His mouth for those who need encouragement. You can be His hands to those who need strength for the journey. You can be His light to a world that is stumbling in the darkness.
When you truly grasp what the hem of His robe did for you, you can’t help but extend that same life-altering touch to others.