Aug 11, 2011

The Hem

The crowd was thick that day. I looked out my window and my courage almost failed me. There were so many people, and they would all know my problem…most already did, and I would have to watch them draw back from me as I passed. My affliction had been with me so long that it seemed a part of me. I could not even dream of life without it, yet life without it seemed a dream.

I knew my problem, it lived with me every day, I could never forget. Sleep was my only refuge, but at times I dreaded even that, for morning always followed night and with it the remembrance of hopelessness.

I had a flow of blood that had persisted for twelve years. Twelve horrible, painful years, each one draining more and more strength from me until I could barely summon the strength to walk. I had no friends to come and help.
Even the Temple was closed to me, I was unclean after all. The House of God had no place for one such as me as long as I was so afflicted. I could come near…near enough to hear what went on inside, but never could I enter. Oh, but to be in the House of God for just a little while, to bring my sacrifice and be where the glory of the Lord had dwelt so strong in days of old. THAT would be the joy of my life. But, no, I had no place there.

“What about the doctors?” You ask. You think I didn’t try them? I spent every penny I owned and more on physicians. I went to everyone that I could find. I met caravans at the gate inquiring after foreign physicians that might have some wisdom on my problem. I listened to gossip and stories and rumors and concocted my own medicines at home when my money ran out, but to no avail, it only made it worse. No remedy changed anything, no one could help. I was still what I was.
Now I was to the end of my strength. If this didn’t work, I may as well give up and die.

Yet, here I was afraid to leave my house to find the One that might help. I told myself I was silly to hesitate, then I pulled my veil over my face and walked out into the daylight.
I cut down a side street to where the main crowd was and I waited leaning against the corner of a building, catching my breath and drawing comfort from the sun-warmed stones.

Soon I saw him. He was in the very thick of the crowd, surrounded by His friends and they seemed in a hurry. I gathered my courage and dove into the crowd. I pushed and was pushed, once I nearly lost my balance, but I pushed closer until I was right next to one of His fisherman friends. I hoped beyond hope that He would see me. If He would just turn His head and look, just once look at me. If He would see my desperation in my eyes, if He could only know how much I needed Him.
I couldn’t keep up, the crowd was pushing in again, and my legs threatened to fail me. This was not a good time to talk to Him. He was probably busy, and so many people needed Him. It was not the situation I had pictured, it was not a good time. But I was losing my opportunity. If I could just touch Him, even, I could be made well I was sure. I must not lose my last chance!

I gathered my remaining strength and made one more desperate push until I was right behind Him once more. I reached out and my fingers brushed just the very hem of His robe. That was all it took.
I never knew the meaning of power until that moment. It was as if I could feel the strength flow through my body in an instant. I stopped, stunned, astonished, almost unable to believe that it had actually happened. I could feel it all over in my body and I knew beyond doubt my dream had come true!

The world seemed hushed around me. Then I realized that it was hushed. The crowd had stopped, the noise had dimmed. Then a voice queried from throng, “Who touched Me?”
I couldn’t breathe. What had I done?! I had dared to touch Him, the Master, the Holy One, and while I was still so unclean. And….was my healing to be so short lived? Would He take the gift back?
Thoughts swirled in my head and crowded my brain as I heard Him say again, “I felt the virtue flow out, someone touched Me.”
I knew that He knew, so I stepped forward…no, I ran forward, I fell at His feet, “It was me, Lord, I touched You. But, I was so desperate! I thought that if I just could touch Your clothes perhaps that little bit would be enough. You see, I had nowhere else to look for help, but to You.” My excitement lent boldness to my voice, I had never spoken so before…but neither had I ever been healed before.

I waited there at His feet, my heart beating wildly, scared to even look in His face. Then a hand on my shoulder, and He spoke.
“Daughter” He called me, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace, you are healed.”

My faith…healed…whole…go in peace. Oh, and what peace it was!
I don’t know quite what happened after that, I was in a daze. Someone came forward to speak to the Master and He left with them, the crowd following and I was left still kneeling in the soft dust of the street as the shadows lengthened into the gray of evening. My only words to express my heart were, “Thank You, Lord, thank You, thank You…thank You…”

The next Sabbath I went into the Temple, clean.


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