In the book of Luke, we see again a story that’s repeated through the Gospels, the story of a woman of faith who reached out and touched the hem of Christ’s garment and was healed.
The scriptures tell us that she’d been afflicted for 12 years. During that time, she’d spent all she had seeking medical care, going from doctor to doctor looking for a cure and being left empty-handed.
But she crawled through the crowds, pressing towards Jesus, believing He could heal her. Not even through deliberate action, just by virtue of His power, she believed she would be healed.
“If I only reach out and touch His garment.”
Despite the countless crushed dreams, the years of saving, of trying to buy hope, of putting everything she has into a dream of normalcy, she was still ill. She bled and lived a life of uncleanness.
For twelve years.
Twelve years of being unable to worship in the temple, of living with illness, or hoping for relief and walking away empty-handed.
As someone who has dealt with chronic illness, the faith this woman had shown was remarkable. When you’ve seen many doctors with relief, discouragement abounds. It is hard to imagine ever moving past discouragement, let alone moving into faith.
But she pressed on.
She not only pressed on, she knew that miracles didn’t have to be flashy, dramatic business. She was not Zechariah demanding a sign, she was Mary, humbling believing the impossible would happen. She simply needed to touch the hem of His cloak and she would be healed.
We see several of these grand demonstrations of faith in the Gospels. The Syrophoenician woman who asked for the falling crumbs. The centurion who said he was unworthy for Christ to enter under his roof, asking only for Jesus’s words. And this women who fought against the pressing crowd, not to speak to Jesus, but to simply touch His clothing.
And she was healed because she was a woman of faith.
I wonder why she wanted to remain hidden, anonymous. Was she afraid or did she think herself unworthy? Had years of being unclean taught her to hide herself away? Did she think this holy man would spurn her as others had?
But Jesus didn’t want her to remain hidden. He felt the power leave Him, and wanted to see whose hand had reached out in faith.
Jesus said, “Some one touched me; for I perceive that power has gone forth from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” – Luke 8:46-48 RSVCE
She reached out, unseen, in a quiet act of faith.
And Jesus called her out to be seen, because of her remarkable faith.
Her faith inspires me. It inspires me to trust God in the moments when men have failed me, to persevere in the face of trials, and to find hope in situations that are hopeless.
May her faith inspire us all to reach out to Jesus for each and every need in our heart, trusting that He and He alone has the power to heal.