25And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. 30At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31”You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ “ 32But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Our scripture reading narrates that Jesus had just come from across the Sea of Galilee when he was approached by a synagogue ruler by the name of Jairus whose little daughter was very sick at that time. Jesus did not refuse Jairus because the Lord saw the sincerity and humility of Jairus who literally had to beg Jesus on bended knees to save his daughter’s life.
As Jesus and his disciples together with Jairus and his companions were making their way to Jairus’ house, crowds followed and pressed hard on them. The crowd control was extremely challenging. Everyone wanted to have a glimpse of this so called “miracle man” from Nazareth. What was his face like? How did his voice sound? What clothes was he wearing? Where is he going this time? And why were Jairus and his companions moving along with him?
The gospel writer mentions that part of that big crowd gathering around Jesus was a very, very sick woman. She was suffering from a reproductive bleeding condition that caused her to suffer for 12 years.
Many times during my nursing practice days, I would often come face to face with patients having these kinds of heart-breaking situations especially in government hospitals and public health care institutions. Many of them come from the poorest of the poor. And many of them really have no where to go.
But the thing is, it does not have to be a physical illness or a health crisis all the time. There are many kinds of anguish and suffering that go deeper than the physical body. These are the pains of fathers and mothers who see the destructive ways of their own children; the pains of children and young people who are longing to be understood and loved by their parents who are too busy earning a living, or parents who are too demanding or hard to please; the anguish of being betrayed by people you trust at work or even in church; and even the pain and the fear of just realizing that at the end of the day, you are all alone.
The woman in our scripture reading today had hit rock-bottom. She was seriously ill. She had lost all her money to doctors who never got to cure her. And she was living a society that would never allow a sick person like her to live a normal life.
You see friends, there are many beautiful things that happen in our lives when the Lord permits us to hit rock bottom. There are issues that become far clearer in our hearts when we no longer have anyone or anything to hold on to for security. There are truths in life we learn the best only when we are at our worst. There gifts and blessings that come to our lives only when we allow the Lord to have his full and complete way it us.
Sept 25 was the 8th birthday of our eldest son, Caris Samuel. Caris means “God’s gift.” Samuel means, “Because we asked the Lord.”
About a year and a half after my husband and I got married in 1999, we literally asked the Lord for a child. Being a nurse, I was very confident of what I know medically about conception. But when it became difficult to conceive, I knew then there was something God was trying to say. My husband and I eventually learned that I had a medical condition that prevented me from conceiving. My left and right ovaries both had cysts and the doctors explained that 95 percent of women who had that kind of condition could not have children.
But certainly, the doctors presented some medical options we could take. The truth, however, was not we could never afford such procedure. My husband and I said to each other, “We do not have the money for expensive treatments, but we have a God who makes all things possible.”
The moment the word was out to our family and friends, prayers started to pour in especially from members of the church.
In six months, I conceived despite the presence of those cysts. When I tested positive using a home-pregnancy test kit, my doctor said, “Maam, don’t be too excited yet because we want to make sure that this is really true.” After another series of tests to confirm my pregnancy, the doctor finally said, “Maam, ma-suwerte po kayo!” But I said, “Doctor, God is good.”
But more surprises awaited us. My pregnancy went on smoothly but on the day of my delivery, we were told that I needed emergency ceasarean section because my son got strangled by my umbilical cord. He almost lost his life. The umbilical cord tightly coiled around his neck three times. Initially, the doctors were afraid that his brain may have been affected because of lack of proper oxygen supply. His head was bigger than usual and he looked rather weak. But God was really good. After a battery of tests, the doctors declared him fully normal and healthy.
Back to the day of my ceasarean section, after giving his written consent, my husband had also given a special request for the doctors to examine the cysts in both my ovaries. Earlier on, I had been advised to have this surgically removed to prevent further complications. But the doctors were astonished to discover that the cysts on my left and right ovaries have both disappeared. This was medically confirmed later on when both my ovaries were declared healthy and fully normal after some series of tests.
Our testimony was picked up by 700 Club Asia and has been televised internationally for the past five years especially when they have episodes on miracle healings.
Friends, the bleeding woman, despite her desperate situation, reached out to Jesus in sheer and desperate faith. Jesus, upon feeling that touch, stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” The disciples must have been irritated by his question. There was a whole crowd surrounding him — of course, many had touched the Lord. But Jesus was insistent. He said, “I felt power come out of me, someone touched me.”
The woman, knowing it was her, came to Jesus trembling. She thought she would be arrested. It was forbidden for a sick person to touch anyone. But she was overtaken by the grace and goodness of Jesus who said to her the sweetest words anyone could hear, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
It’s amazing how Jesus responds to faith. He stops. He looks. He listens. He attends. He responds with great love and enormous compassion. When we put our faith in him, he restores and works with great power — amazingly and beyond what we can ever hope or imagine. Thank you, Lord!