"A GREAT CROWD followed JESUS and thronged about Him. And there WAS a woMan who'd had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had SUFFERED much under many physicians, and had spent ALL THAT she had, and was no better but RATHER grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind Him in the crowd and ToucHeD His garments. For she said, “IF I touch even HIS GarmenTs, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she FELT in her body that she was HEALED of her disease." (Mark 5:24-29)
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I know this woman. I AM this woman: suffering under many physicians, spending all that I have and not only not getting better but getting worse, desperately following Jesus as one of thousands in a huge crowd, grasping for the hem of His garment, feeling as though my prayers go unheard in the din of thousands of others and all I want is a scrap, some minuscule shred of His attention so badly that I'm even willing even to steal it.
When I read this story, I'm so jealous of that woman who was healed completely on the spot that words fail me. Bitter tears come quickly when praying turns into wishing and believing turns into wanting. I WILL BE MADE WELL. I have to tell myself that every day. No, not perfectly, not yet. But "being made well" can mean a lot of things while we're stuck in this limbo of simultaneous sinners and saints, and wellness doesn't have to include a physical cure.
So in the meantime, I'm grasping at every hem Jesus offers. In our BAPTISM, we are covered in that wonderful healing garment of His: completely restored and made new, right with God the Father, forgiven, and healed. In the EUCHARIST, Jesus gives us His own body and blood for the forgiveness of sins: an opportunity to partake of His all-atoning sacrifice of an innocent life out of love for us. Through SCRIPTURE, the Holy Spirit works His faith in us so that each of us can say with absolute confidence, "If I touch even His garments, I will be made well."
Do I want to feel in my body that I am healed right now? So badly that despite all my pretty words, those bitter tears still sting these exhausted eyes of mine from time to time. But I am content to follow the throng a little while longer. I just need to be reminded of that now and again.
Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is from Psalm 126:5
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"Those who sow in tears -------> 5 count inhale
shall reap with joy." -------> 5 count exhale