If you have ever struggled with infertility (or anything really), there’s someone I would like you to meet. This woman struggled with bleeding for 12 years. Twelve! She was considered to have less value than others and did everything within her power to resolve her issues. But regardless of her efforts she only found her condition growing worse with each passing year. I imagine she was exhausted, frustrated, heartbroken and weary. Let’s take a look at her story…
“A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse – after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:25-34 (NASB)
So this story is about a woman desperate and at the end of her rope. She had nowhere to turn and no one to turn to. Then she hears about Jesus and thinks this is it. I have to get to Him. As she made her way through the crowd, I can imagine them looking down on her in disgust. People with her condition would have been known, loathed, considered unclean, and would have been shunned rather than loved. But she knew, if she just made her way to Jesus, she would be healed.
Her healing was a miracle. No doubt. But what I love most about it is what happened after she was healed. Jesus knew what was happening. He knew she had touched Him and that she was immediately healed of her bleeding. But He still asked who touched Him. I believe He did this for many reasons, but here are two I can’t help but highlight.
First, it made everyone stop in their tracks. I imagine Jesus stopping this huge crowd around Him, turning, looking around, and pretending He doesn’t see her. He was making his actions known, and caused the crowd to wonder what was going on. It’s clear His disciples were totally confused as you can read the sarcasm in their voice, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?” ‘ And as all of this was happening, the woman that was healed is terrified knowing exactly what she had done and realizing she was being called out for it by Jesus himself.
Another reason I think He stopped and addressed what happened was to allow this woman the opportunity to publicly announce her faith and healing. She could have remained hidden in the crowd, but by acknowledging what happened it solidified her faith, served as a testimony to Christ’s power and healing, and restored her in the eyes of the crowd. Her healing was an example of how Christ loves all, including those that people feel are unlovable or of less worth. He knew by publicly commending her faith He would be healing her heart, exalting her in front of the crowd and allowing her the opportunity to serve as an example of His power, goodness and love to those that had previously shamed her.
So, why am I sharing this with you? Well, I think it’s safe to say we all encounter hardship. Either something has happened in our life that hurt use deep and just won’t heal, we feel God has forgotten us in some way, life hasn’t gone the way we think it should, we feel we deserve more than what we have, or we have found that life is simply harder than we think it should be. We don’t know why we have to deal with something that’s happened out of our control, and feel we’re stuck in the mud without the energy or ability to get out.
But like the woman that was healed, we have to have faith. I’m sure she wondered why she had to endure bleeding for 12 years and all the pain and ridicule that came with it. But I think if she hadn’t, God wouldn’t have been able to use the moment of her healing and testimony without that hardship first happening. It wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable if she had only been bleeding for a little while, but by having this condition for 12 years and countless physicians trying to make her well with no success, it allowed all glory and credit to go to Jesus Christ, not just on that day, but every day since. He healed her and there was nothing anyone could say to her to dispute that fact.
So I share this to say as we go through life and have hardship, I pray that we learn to trust God in the midst of our chaotic world. It’s not always easy and we probably won’t receive healing like the woman did, but when we trust God and have faith like she did, I know He can heal our hearts and use our pain for something good. He can use us and our testimonies in ways we never dreamed were possible. He can increase our faith as we release our lives to Him. And no matter the trial or hardship before us, He can heal our souls, provide a peace unlike anything before, and provide us with a testimony that lasts beyond our lifetime.