the hem of His robe

The woman bled for 12 years straight. Physician after physician shrugged his shoulders. She’d given up all hope of ever getting better. But then she heard about Jesus: the miracle worker. Desperate, she knew she had to get to Him.

As she clawed her way through the crowd on her hands and knees, she carried with her much more than her illness. She carried shame. As if in a bag over her shoulder, she dragged along a heavy burden of rejection and fear. She’s referred to as the “woman with the issue of blood”, but her issues ran much deeper than that. Her physical ailment made her an outcast in her own culture. Her emotional hurts and scars were far worse than her physical ones.

Finally catching up to Jesus, she reached out and frantically, yet faintly, grabbed the hem of His robe. Immediately, she was healed. Jesus turned around and faced the crowd. “Who touched Me?”

She told Him the whole truth. She told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Jesus cared enough to listen to her story. The long version. He just let her talk. He was on His way to heal a dying girl. People were rushing Him. Pressing Him. Insisting He keep going before it’s too late. He silenced them long enough for her to tell her story.

When she finished talking, He responded by calling her Daughter. It’s the only time recorded that He addressed someone that way. The love she felt in that one simple word must have been overwhelming. After pouring out her heart, He’d responded with pure affection. Gentle but aggressive love.

If Jesus’ aim was simply to heal her, He would have kept walking after she touched Him, for she was healed instantly. If that was all He was concerned about, He wouldn’t have stopped, turned around, asked the question. He wouldn’t have looked straight at her, talked to her, listened. But He did all those things. He wanted to let her talk. To tell her story. He wanted to call her Daughter.

For that is when her heart was healed.

He wanted to heal more than her body. His aim all along was to heal her heart.

I can picture Him looking her in the eyes as He talked to her. And making her look into His. The healing began as, face-to-face, His love was visible, and it resonated within her soul. It broke down walls. Shattered barriers. Smashed through the defenses she’d lived behind for so long. His love broke through with a simple gaze, a listening ear, and undivided attention.

It wouldn’t have helped if He healed her physically, but left her to still carry the hurt from her 12 years of rejection and disgrace. Despite her physical healing, she probably would have continued to stay holed up in her house. She would have been the same cowering little girl she always was, still dragging her bag of shame behind her. But as Jesus looked into her eyes, He saw the woman He created her to be, and He wasn’t content to leave her drowning in her pain.

The greatest healing isn’t the miraculous cure of her incurable disease. It is the passionate healing of her heart.

God’s primary concern is still the condition of hearts. Physical health and a blessed life pale in comparison with a restored soul. God’s heart hurts for our hurting hearts.

He still brings love, grace, and healing through a touch of the hem of His robe.

And we are the hem of His robe.

[originally posted this day two years ago]

Comments

25 Responses to “the hem of His robe”
  1. Matt Niemeyer says:

    Wow. Never read this on the original posting but I did now. Amazing writing and though. It’s so awesome that we serve a God that cares about us the way he does. Just the way that he listens and heals our pain even when it’s stuff that no one else wants to hear he does because He is Love. I’m truly blessed to be a Christian and serve a God like Him. Awesome.

  2. TheNorEaster says:

    I would gladly keep my physical ailments for a good listener who responds in love. Listening is the greatest compliment one can receive in grief, it proves that one is worthy of another’s time and effort. And that alone speaks volumes in a culture where life is lived between the ticks of a second.

  3. Stacey says:

    Wow. Thank you Alece, that was beautiful…

  4. Earl says:

    guy talked about something cool in church yesterday. he talked about jericho and joshua and the 7-day process. instead of seeing it as God flaunting his power for 7 days, he chooses to look at it as God giving jericho 7 days to repent. “turn, repent!” he called. he even had an ambassador – rahab. “you know me and the works i have done to bring israel from egypt,” he declared. rahab attested to that. God has a heart for the hurting, the lost, and he wants them to be brought to their knees in front of him. isn’t he oh-so worth it?
    shrug. you know, that could’ve been a blog post. my ability to blog is lost, lately. i dunno where it went, but it ran away.

  5. Melissa says:

    Wow… I was overcome at the thought that He looks us directly in the eyes, so that we understand that we are completely and totally known, and His eyes are full of love.

  6. Jessica says:

    beautiful.

  7. Leah says:

    Wow Alece, that stirs the heart.

  8. Bran Muffin says:

    crying here.

    I want that kind of healing.

    love you.

  9. This is incredible, Alece. I felt like I was there, like I was her. I agree with Bran Muffin…I want that kind of healing too.

  10. Adriane says:

    “His aim all along was to heal her heart”

    That statement really jumped out to me. When she ventured out, I imagine that she sought only to be healed physically. She didn’t dare imagine more of a miracle

    and yet Jesus wanted so much more for her.

    how often do we do that? Ask the Lord for the bare minimum, what we think we need to make it, what we think we need to be whole.

    And yet the Lord desires to go deeper. To heal those places we’ve hidden, those places we’ve buried, those places we’ve convinced ourselves are beyond the Lord’s touch.

    in His goodness, He goes beyond what we ask for to give us what we truly need, what will make us whole.

    I am so thankful that my God knows the condition of my heart. That He longs to give me what I wouldn’t dare ask, for fear of not receiving it. He loves me that much…
    so beautiful

    • i was messaging you on facebook while you were writing this. love when stuff like that happens.

      and i love what you said in your comment. she was seeking Him out for the needs she was aware of; He met those and the others she didn’t even know to ask for.

      i need to trust Him to do the same for me…

  11. kaylen says:

    I think I held my breath the entire time I was reading this. I’m still having a hard time breathing. this is.. unshakably true.

    thank you. no really, thank you. I needed this.

  12. Bonnie says:

    It is this story that made me fall head over heels in love with Jesus Christ. When I first studied it – really studied it (I’ve known the story since I was 8 or 9, probably) almost 8 years ago now. It resonates with me the same way still. The name Jesus used – daughter (Thugater in Greek) is the name of my blog – I remind myself of this story every day of my life. I replaced her bleeding with my problem at the time and He did the same for me then as He did for her – He just let me talk. And He listened. And then He called me Daughter… I haven’t been the same since.

    Oh how I love to read what you write!!!

  13. Ellie says:

    thank-you.

    I want to retell this story. I have something I am working on right now writing for women who don’t even have hope that God knows they exist – what a perfect story! I needed that today.

    He’s working on my heart. But He’s definitely looked me in the eyes, and I’ve been changed.

    • i feel like i’m needing Him to lift my head because i keep turning away from His gaze. i can picture Him gently, with only a finger really, lifting my chin until my eyes lock on His. because He knows the peace, freedom, and healing that can only come when i let myself stare long and hard into His eyes of truth and life.

      i’m glad He promises to lift my head when i can’t do it on my own. (Psalm 3:3)

  14. Stacey
    @
    says:

    This entry gave me goosebumps. So many of the details you highlighted in the story reminded me of how I miss the simplest things that God gives: a listening ear, a compassionate heart, and various types of healing. I focus too much on my hurt and my anger to see what God brings to the table.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Alece,

    I randomly followed a blog about u2 and stumbled on your blog. I’m so glad I did for this post. I am weary, and this story has been in my head for several weeks. I remember reading it when I first understood the love of Christ and being struck by the “daughter.” I had never thought about the time. That is amazing.

    I am so glad I found Grit & Glory (and Grace). I know nothing about your story, nothing about your pain, but I am like you in that I process things in writing. Thank you for writing your journey. That is brave and truly beautiful. And tonight, I needed to read it.

    Jen

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