Chronic doesn’t blow anyone away, it starves you out, leaving you isolated and anemic.
Killing you softly. Casting you out. Making you desperate, irrational, and even willing to try something crazy ….
If only I could just touch his garment, I know I would be healed…
Twelve years. After twelve years of chronic bleeding, she had to be tired. Tired of stares and whispers and unanswered prayers. Tired of their same questions:
Is that still going on? What did the doctor say? Haven’t you tried…?
I’m sure she could see the skepticism in their eyes. She had to notice them shortening the conversations. I bet she could feel them pulling away…
She was unclean, untouchable, and she knew it. She was well aware of the rules and the disgrace. But she also knew of Jesus’ miracles.
So, when hearing of His arrival, she had to be out of her mind and drunk on hope. No wonder she couldn’t help but reach out for the hem of His robe just as He walked by…
And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” Luke 8: 45-46
Do you know where Jesus was headed when He met that woman? He and the crowd were responding to a crisis. Back up a few verses and read about earlier in the story:
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. Luke 8:40-42
They were on their way to a dying girl. The crowd was rushing Jesus passed the chronic to get to the crisis. And rightfully so…
Let’s keep moving, Jesus. The woman will be there later. She always is.
Because it makes a lot more sense and it’s a lot more appealing to rally behind a twelve year-old girl than a twelve year-old disease.
Or another round of chemo.
Or twenty year-old grief.
Or a lifetime of mental illness.
But Jesus stopped for her chronic, dirty, shameful problem. He didn’t miss what happened on the fringe of his robe. And he doesn’t miss who’s on the fringes of life, either.
He stops for those who know they have nothing to offer except endless brokenness; for those who have no new plan and nothing else to say.
He turns toward those of us who are weary of scrubbing our own blood off our hands to look alive.
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by. *
Jesus offers much more than His hem to the lunatic fringe. Because unless you’ve been there, you’d never give the most irrational, outrageous things a chance…
Like a healing touch. Like complete forgiveness and full restoration. Like nothing but the blood of Another.
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 8:47-48
Do not let Him pass you by, my fringe friend.
Be seen. Be healed. Go in peace.
*hymn lyrics by Frances J. Crosby
photo: Jakob Owens