Updated: Oct 10
Dan MacKinnon, Church/Mission Liaison for AIM Canada
“If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Matthew 9:21
This poor woman! Mark tells us in 5:26 that "she suffered a great deal under the care of
many doctors and spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she got worse.” Luke says in 8:33 “no one could heal her.” Here in Matthew we simply see the expression of a fading hope; “If only I could touch His cloak I will be healed.” She had endured twelve years of suffering; suffering physically from whatever the malady was that caused her hemorrhaging; suffering emotionally from the disappointments and frustrations with doctors; and suffering financially, as she spent her resources on attempts to get better which effected no change.
Imagine the despair, sense of futility, the depression and isolation she must have
experienced as a result of always being an “unclean” person in the community; and the impact psychologicallly when no one and nothing could heal her. In Jewish culture if you were sick, it was assumed you had done something wrong causing God to remove His blessing on your life (See Job). She may well have had friends say to her, like Job, “If you just confess your sin, you’ll be fine!” How she must have asked herself in light of those conversations “What’s wrong with me?”But every sickness is not related to sin.
Sometimes sickness/suffering is a means to bring glory to God. (John 11:4) The Gospel
of Jesus Christ revolves around the sacrifice on the cross of Jesus for our sins. His suffering not only brought reconciliation to sinners like you and me, but it also brought glory to God.
Sickness/suffering is also one of the things God often uses to do something deeper in our lives. That there might be something good come out of suffering is part miracle and all of grace, but it’s not a perspective a lot of people welcome. In our culture sickness and suffering are twin evils to be avoided and usually part of our accusation against God. Yet God doesn’t disappear when the tide of trouble rises. It is when He usually does His best work. I’ve heard Terry Wardle say a few times lately, “It is often the things we think will break us that God uses most to form Christ within us.”
This poor woman! She comes with one last fading hope “If only..” Driven by desperation,
not giving up hope yet, risking the shaming of others, she comes … “if only I …”
Picture yourself for a moment, in that crowd pushing for a view of Jesus on that day. Where are you in the crowd? Are you one of the disciples trying to shield Jesus? Are you one of the people who may have said, "Come on girl, get your act together and you’ll be fine!” or “You just need to pray more or read your Bible more!"
Are you one of the crowd pushing to get close enough to see Jesus do something; maybe say something to you? Are you the woman - Desperate, treading water, on your last, fading hope?
Where are you in the crowd?
Be assured, Jesus sees you, just like He saw the woman (vs. 22) and He invites you to
take heart. They’re not empty words because He is the Saviour who took up our pain and bore
our suffering (Isaiah 53:4) and His face is turned toward you in love and care. If you could ask
Jesus today for one thing, and you can, what would it be?
Reach out to him now and hear His word to you, “Take heart, daughter! Take heart, son!
PRAYER: O Lord, I reach out to you. My hands are empty and my heart longs for more of your
touch, more of you in my life. Let your Word and your Spirit speak into the deep places of my
soul and bring healing, hope, and life.
Dan serves as a church/mission liaison for the Africa Inland Mission (Canada), where he works with churches and pastors. He has over forty years of experience as a pastor and, because he knows the trials of life in ministry, he desires to simply come along side pastors, Christian leaders, and churches to encourage them where they are in their next steps with Christ. He has taught at leadership conferences in India, been a speaker and worship leader for church renewal conferences, and a caregiver and small group leader for various seminars and events for Healing Care Ministries. Dan serves on the HCM Board for the US and Canada. He has been married to Dawn for 40 years and they have three adult children and two grandchildren.
Click here to find Dan's YouTube channel called Life ReBounding, featuring short devotional reflections.