But before we get started and dig into this story, I want you to note that on this mighty day of faith and courage – this woman was not coming from a high-point of faith and victory, but rather from twelve years of defeat, frustration, and probably strong feelings of worthlessness.
It’s probably safe to assume that this woman didn’t feel very righteous on this particular day. In fact, I doubt she had felt righteous for a very long time. Notice that in the course of her struggle, the woman had seen many physicians, to no avail. She had spent all the money she had in search of a cure. For twelve years, she experienced one failure after another. When one doctor failed, she regrouped and found another. When that doctor failed, she sought another.
To keep carrying on for so long, after so many failures, she must have had deep determination, hope, and faith that life could, should, and would be different for her if she just pressed on.
Let’s paraphrase the scripture reference given above focusing just on these few phrases: “For twelve years, enduring much and spending all that she had … but … after hearing about Jesus … thought, if I, could just touch His garments, I will be well.”
This woman was determined, committed, and not a quitter. What’s even more amazing to me about this valiant woman is that we don’t even know whether she was a converted follower of Christ, or attended synagogue, or was even considered a ‘church-goer.’ The Bible doesn’t give us these details, I think for good reason.
Because we don’t know those details, we are free to extract deeper meaning and value from the account. Perhaps merely hearing about Jesus from conversations in the street, spoken words of encouragement, and the testimonies of everyday folks in the crowd that day were all the hope she needed to spark her faith into action.
“And 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?” [Mark 5:30]
Notice that in this verse, the power in this case to heal left Jesus the moment her faith touched His cloak. There were a lot of folks crowding in on Jesus and the disciples.
Probably many of them were brushing up against His clothing, but only one was touched in a special way.
Why weren’t there more accounts of people being healed, delivered, and set free from whatever ailed them during this release of power? The Bible doesn’t say, but I like to think that it’s because the relationship between faith and power, or power and faith, is relational and very personal.
It was HER FAITH that pushed her through the crowd, and when she was close enough, made her reach, believing that if she could just touch His cloak, she would be made well.
Considering the times back then, we can assume that others were also in need of a special touch from God. But this single account of ‘faith demonstrated’ shows us that God not only notices our faith, he also feels it when our faith unites with His power and ignites.
“And His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude pressing in on you, and you say, “Who touched Me?” [Mark 5:31]
In other words, the disciples said, “Are you serious? Everyone is touching us!” Imagine how silly Jesus’ question would have been in today’s world of celebrities and rock stars. Surrounded by the paparazzi, bulbs flashing left and right, no elbowroom to speak of, Jesus says, “Who touched me?”
“And when the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason 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 8:47-48]
To avoid drifting away and losing heart, to continue to rest in right standing (righteousness), whether we “feel righteous” or not, before God and man, we must acknowledge that the Word of God is living and active every day, even during the dark days when we think that we are walking alone and that God has abandoned us. This journey is, in a word, faith.
It is during this part of the journey when we desperately seek God’s wisdom, healing, and favor, that we should judge our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts to see if there is anything we need to correct in our lives. It could be something minor, a tweak or adjustment needed to bring our right standing back into balance. Or, after much soul-searching, we might realize that we have seriously misled or mistreated someone, and until that is made right, forward progress might take the shape of a circle. But here’s some good news.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” [Hebrews 4:15]
Notice that the word “weaknesses” is plural. The writer of Hebrews knew we might suffer from more than one weakness. We are only human after all, but our God can still sympathize; He fully understands how we feel when we’ve been hurt, falsely accused, or are just plain weary from the battles of the day.
“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” [Hebrews 4:16]
This verse gives us a way out, an action we can take to ensure we rebalance and remain in right standing with God, even if we want to retaliate or defend ourselves. We are to turn to the throne of grace to receive mercy. However, notice what must happen first.
We have to draw near— but with what? Are we to draw near with a spirit of fear, begging like a dog for mercy? Whining like a three-year-old child revving her engines before the tantrum? Are we supposed to draw near, doubting and guilt-ridden? Say it ain’t so!
It ain’t so! We are to draw near, with confidence, to the throne of grace.
How awesome that is! Think about this verse for a minute. There’s a lot going on here. In the midst of the storm, when our weaknesses are fully exposed, our hearts broken, when, like the woman in Mark, we don’t feel all that great about ourselves, and are far from being on top of a mountain of unshakable faith, when we most need help and mercy, we are instructed to approach the throne with confidence.
While many of these emotions run counter to confidence, we must possess confidence before we can receive mercy and find grace in times of need.
What can we do to make sure we don’t grow weary and fall prey to the same demise as the fallen that have gone before us? We can examine our hearts, humble ourselves, search the Word of God for understanding, stir up our faith—and then approach the throne. In doing this, we are acting in accordance with God’s will, and that alone should provide all the confidence we need.
[Like what your reading? There’s more where this came from – deeper studies of scriptural stories in my book, Legacies of Valor – Traits of Character: The Noble & The Notable. Support this blog ministry by ordering a copy of Legacies of Valor today]
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