I’m not a woman, so I haven’t had to go through this myself but, having a wife and three daughters, I’m familiar with the physical issue that a younger woman has to deal with for several days every month. The bleeding associated with that time of the month is uncomfortable and inconvenient and typically lasts three to five days (and a few weeks later, they get to do it all over again).
In Bible times, it was, of course, no different. Women still experienced their time of the month. However, as an added burden, the Law of Moses specified that if a woman’s bleeding extended beyond the normal number of days, she would be considered “unclean” during that time (and for seven more days afterward), affecting her participation in society. Further, anyone who touched her (or touched anything she touched) would also be considered unclean, making the woman something of a pariah. See Leviticus 15:25-28 for the details of this law.
The gospels describe a woman who experienced the above problem on a regular basis, month after month, for twelve years (probably since she reached the age of womanhood). Desperate to fix her problem, the woman spent all of her money on doctors and specialists but to no avail — if anything, her condition got worse. (See Mark 5:25-26, Luke 8:43).
Then, one day, God intervenes on her behalf. The woman is among a large group of people greeting Jesus and His disciples as they return from the Gadarenes. She overhears the leader of the synagogue, a man named Jairus, ask Jesus to come to his house to heal his 12-year-old daughter who is near death. As the group begins to walk toward Jairus’ house, the woman falls in behind, thinking, “If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole” (Matthew 9:21).
The woman pushes her way through the crowd toward Jesus, touches the hem of His garment, and is immediately healed of her condition. It is such a “high faith” moment that not only does the woman know that she has been healed, but Jesus also senses that virtue (healing power) has gone out of Him. When the woman is identified, Jesus tells her, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:34).
The above story is unique in that it is the only one in the scriptures that describes someone who went to a doctor, couldn’t be helped, and was then healed by Jesus. However, there are many testimonies like this in the church today — people who couldn’t be helped by doctors or didn’t even go to the doctor at all and were then healed miraculously. If this has ever happened to you, then you have a great testimony of the power of God — you were healed by the greatest physician of all.
Having faith is an important ingredient for receiving a miraculous healing from God. The woman described above obviously had great faith as she pushed her way through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. If you have experienced a healing from the Lord, you likely exhibited great faith as well.
Wouldn’t it be great if it worked this way all the time? Have faith and be healed. After all, who of us wouldn’t prefer to just be healed by the Lord rather than having to go the doctor or hospital or take medication or have surgery or even not be healed at all?
However, as we know from experience, it frequently doesn’t work out this way. Regardless of our level of faith, we often have to seek medical attention for an illness or injury. Sometimes, the condition can’t be healed at all.
When it seems as if the Lord is turning a deaf ear toward our request for healing, does it mean He doesn’t love us anymore or that He doesn’t care? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. Yes, it can be disappointing since we know what the Lord can do but we need to do our best to not allow disappointment to erode our faith. Part 2 of this article (next week) explores ways to do this.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.