The testimony of the ‘woman with the issue of blood’ must be so significant to the Lord that it was included in three Gospels, Matthew 9:20, Mark 5:25, and Luke 8:43. Familiar to most believers, the woman here suffered with bleeding for 12 years. She had spent all she had on doctors to no avail and, understood within the Jewish Law, she also suffered isolation from the community, from family and/or spouse, and emotional trauma if not constant hopelessness.
In short, 12 years of bleeding no doubt sapped her strength, ruined her relationships, and depleted her resources. For her, ‘joie de vivre’ was unreachable at any cost.
Perhaps God had His eye on her all along. Perhaps twelve years would not seem long to her if she knew the wait would lead to a glorious personal encounter with God, an eternal place in His living word, and a source of encouragement for many generations to follow.
Are there women suffering like this today? Are they isolated, depleted of resources and robbed of hope to live? Yes, but more than women. In these last days, there are deep afflictions in the souls of men, women and children that are surely bleeding the life from within. The ‘terrible times of the last days’, liken to the ‘days of Noah’ and ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ are days where man revels in lawlessness and sin which results in deep affliction to himself and those nearest.
Whether afflicted through physical debilitation or emotional trauma, torments of anxiety, depression, guilt, hopelessness, and despair can absolutely leave us deplete of resources, isolated from many, and weakened in every way. Many are living with a bleeding soul, unable to find true healing and deliverance.
What happened to the ‘hem of His garment’? Is it now unreachable? Isn’t He “the same, yesterday, today and forever”?
God is in no way a formula God. While He does not change, His ways and interventions are never the same. We will not find another burning bush and the hem of His garment is gone.
God still heals, instantaneously and incrementally. But we are not 1st century believers, walking with God incarnate as He manifests His glory with powerful words and miracles. Preachers are still passionately crying out, “Reach out! Touch the hem of His garment! Have faith and you will be healed!”
What they are not preaching is I Peter 1:6,
“….for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even thought refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Our faith is not refined, nor does it foundationally grow, through instantaneous miracles. Although we would much rather have miraculous healings and provisions, the Lord’s purpose for suffering in our lives in far greater. Firstly, He is not preparing us to live well in this world but rather, to serve well in this world. To truly serve our Master we must become more like Him; it is suffering that conforms us to His image. But suffering does more than that.
Yes, our inner bleeding and brokenness may rob us of strength, our resources, and isolate us from those who cannot relate. But in this state of depletion God moves in with more than the hem of His garment. Waiting upon Him, shutting in with Him, and believing like the bleeding woman that we will receive, opens an awaited intimacy with our Lord.
The Bible never presents suffering as a surprise or dilemma to God. For God’s people, trials and calamities are ‘appointed’. No longer can we touch ‘the hem of His garment’ but He’s given us a greater gift, the Holy Spirit, our Counselor, Comforter, and Guide.
Why is this greater than touching His hem? He is preparing us as His beloved Bride to dwell with Him forever. It is pointedly said,
The believer’s life on earth is his only arena for change and fruitfulness…the nature of eternity is changeless. Therefore, the time to become like Jesus, being conformed to His likeness, is during this earthly Christian experience of trial and faith…”
When God allows all options, remedies, and hopes to fail believe that He is sharpening our focus on Him alone. Whatever it takes, shut in with the Lord and hear from Him through prayer and His word. When this temporal world begins to dim and the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts, we will hear God’s call to us. He will walk us through to healing, revealing Himself at every juncture.
But infinitely greater – He is preparing us to be with Him forever.