She wonders at the way they follow casually, some eating chunks of bread, some laughing at a newly told joke, some gossiping about the man and his miracles like he is a million miles away instead of right within their midst.
Have they not heard?
Have they not seen?
Can he be any other but the Promised One?
And if he be the Messiah, if he is one sent from the I AM ~ how are they not all on their knees? How can they not run to him with their hungry relatives, their sick brethren, their own fear-filled hearts?
She pushes past, murmurs of complaint following her. Maybe some recognize her, for they back away. Unclean, they must be whispering.
But most don’t notice. They are too busy with their conversations, their own worries.
She stops a stranger, a woman with a child clinging to her hand. “Where is he going?” she asks.
“To heal a child,” the woman says, “a dying girl.”
She nods her thanks, keeps stepping ahead, looking for the man that has brought these people together.
And, there, in the middle of it all, men walking all around him ~ there He is. She stops, so suddenly that someone bumps into her, muttering annoyance at the collision. Never before has she seen this man and ~ yet ~ somehow she knows Him. “Jehovah-Jireh,” she whispers. “I believe. Help me believe.”
This is her chance. Her moment to call out to Him, to receive healing.
Yet she stays totally still but for her eyes, which follow Him.
Because there is a little girl, so sick that her parents fear death is her fate.
She thinks of the babies she has never held, the love-loss she has mourned.
No, she will not disrupt His journey to that child. She will not hold Him back from comforting a mother who cries for her daughter, a child suffering.
She watches as He walks further and further away. An ache deep in her stomach is so sudden and sharp that she gasps aloud, bends slightly with rushed breath.
Perhaps ~ perhaps she can get just close enough to touch Him. Even the slightest touch of His robe ~ it would be enough, she is sure. She will not bother or detain Him ~ only grasp the hem of his robe, just for a moment.
One foot in front of the other and the closer she gets, the more determined she grows.
Paying no mind to those blocking her path, she weaves and ducks and squeezes through until He is there, before her, and the pitter-patter heart-beat in her chest is all she feels. Almighty Lord, she prays, my life is in Your hands.
Quiet, though no one could hear her in this chaos, she steps quick and light. She stretches her arm out, fingers reaching ~ and the hem, it is soft between fingers for but a second and gone, pulled forward. Her hands fall back, empty.
But the weakness she has worn like a second skin drops away.
Her very bones feel brand new and she stands taller, joy like sunrise filling her with warmth. Is her skin glowing? Can her body hold such power? There is no surge of blood, no faintness of head or heart. She is whole. He has made her whole!
Oh, but the beauty of this Man and the holiness of this place!
“Bless the Lord, O my soul!” she sings it, sings it straight to the heavens, her eyes never leaving him, this prophet who is more than a prophet, this man who is more than a man.
And he stops. Stops, looks to His left and right ~ He says something to the men who walk by Him. They all stop, looking around and shrugging. He turns around.
The conversations of the crowd cease.
In the sudden stillness, His voice is clear ~ “Who touched my clothes?”
One of the men nearest reaches out to Him. “You see all these people, all crowding against you. How can you ask, who touched you?”
Her palms are slick with sweat, her legs shaking beneath her. Of course, of course He felt her touch. Despite her best effort, she has interrupted His journey, infringed on His time. She is just a woman, a woman who does not deserve this blessing ~ perhaps she misunderstood what was asked of her. Perhaps ~ of course! ~ she should have sought some freedom from her impurity before touching Him. A sacrifice ~ many sacrifices ~ offered in the temple… for what can she offer Him now? She has nothing.
He is still looking and she is trembling, yet there is nothing to do but confess. Nothing to do, but accept whatever the Holy One wills.
She moves forward and falls at His feet. She does not dare look up.
“Master, I am the one. I touched you.” Tears come fierce. “For twelve years, I have been unclean with an issue of blood that no man could heal. I’ve been forgotten by my people, but still I have waited upon the Lord ~ I knew I must come to You, though I didn’t want to stop You on Your journey ~ and, Master, I am made whole by one touch of your garment. If I have offended you with my touch, I am sorry ~ so sorry ~” The words can no longer push through the sobs shaking her body.
His voice is low and edged only in compassion. Daughter? In His holiness, He would claim her kinship? Her nerves still and the tears slow ~ she looks up.
“Daughter,” He says again. “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
He is smiling. Smiling, at her ~ with eyes that know her, with eyes so full of love like she has never before seen.
To Him, never unloved. Never forgotten. To Him, never useless. Never hopeless.
For He Himself is her hope and her future. Jesus ~ the Messiah, sent straight from God.
She sees it now, sees how He always has been there and always will be.
She sees how He felt the healing given to her body, but even more felt the need of her heart. She couldn’t ask Him to stop ~ but He stopped, anyway, and He stopped just for her.
At His feet, she lingers, and in His eyes ~ she sees Truth ~ she sees the light carried within now standing before her, never to be hidden again.
He has changed her story.
All she can do is cry out praise, because something within her knows: He has come to change every story.
He changed her life, this woman who had suffered for so long. He gave her healing, peace of mind… He gave her freedom. Because she believed ~ because she followed Him ~ everything changed.
Who am I today? The woman so sure of her need that she will reach out to Jesus and fall at His feet in total dependence upon Him? Or am I a face in the crowd, content to hear of His works, but not ready for Him to work in me?
I hope that I am like the unnamed woman, seeking Him always. Never self-sufficient… finding hope only in Him, no matter the circumstance.
What I know for sure is that we will be changed when we reach out to touch Him, believing Him. If our situation doesn’t change, what we hold inside will. He is never too busy, never unavailable. What I know for sure is that even if we don’t feel like we can ask Him to stop for us, He already has.
He came into our world to change our story.
“We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels ~ everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, He organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
He was supreme in the beginning and ~ leading the resurrection parade ~ He is supreme in the end. From beginning to end He’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in Him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe ~ people and things, animals and atoms ~ get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of His death, His blood that poured down from the cross.
You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of Him, giving Him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving Himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in His presence.” ~From Col.1 (MSG)