And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She 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. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” –Mark 5:25-34
The story of the woman who was healed of a bleeding disorder is found in the synoptic gospels: Mark 5:25-34, Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 8:43-48. This woman suffered from her disorder for 12 years, which likely meant according to Lev. 15:25-33 that she was considered ritually impure for that length of time. But when she touched Jesus, He did not become impure; the exact opposite happened—Jesus’ purity with the Holy Spirit made her pure. A change in her spirit by believing in Jesus ushered in a healing change in her body, according to the NIV Study Bible.
What we can learn from stories like this in the Bible is that God is able to heal us, and God desires to heal us. If you have been sick for a long time like that woman, you may be thinking what about me—why hasn’t God healed me? And as someone who has experienced chronic nerve pain for the last 13 years I can relate. Kristen Wetherell, author and writer for Unlocking The Bible, has shared an article with The Gospel Coalition titled “Does Jesus Want to Heal Me?” She writes,
“We all have ailments, even if they’re not physical—broken relationships, broken promises, broken dreams. We feel like the hesitant woman on the outskirts of the crowd rather than the one cured by a touch of his garment.
We wonder if Jesus wants to heal us. And since he hasn’t, we figure we have our answer.”
Wetherell points us back to the story to look at what Jesus says to the woman. In Mark 5:24 He says, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Her faith in Jesus healed her spiritually, which is vastly more important than her physical healing, but He also tells her she is free of her physical suffering. The order of what He said matters. Jesus wants us to be healed, and more than our physical healing He wants us to experience spiritual healing. Wetherell cites 1 Peter 2:24,
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Jesus cared so much about our healing, our sick and dying souls, He died for us—so that by His sacrifice we can be healed.
There will be sickness, disease, pain, and suffering on this earth because the world we live in right now is fallen and sin still covers every surface. But once Jesus Christ saves us, through faith alone, sin can no longer touch our souls—it has been eliminated and we have been made pure by the only One who ever lived a pure life on this earth. Wetherell explains,
“Jesus’s response to the woman also previews our eternal future—a final healing through the perfect restoration of body, mind, and soul, when Jesus returns and renews all things. What God has done through miracles past, he will do in our heavenly future.”
It’s certainly possible that you will receive physical healing on this earth, for God is able to do more than all we can ask or think (Eph 3:20). But it is also possible that you will not receive physical healing until the day you leave this earth and join God in heaven.
We can think of numerous stories in the Bible that portray people waiting on God’s deliverance, and we can also think of a few where God did not take away pain like Paul’s thorn. The biggest thing we can learn from all of these true stories is that what matters more than the miraculous healing is the person’s trust in God. By trusting and believing in God, He will heal you spiritually even if your physical struggles remain the same.
Sometimes I am tempted not to pray for healing or perseverance of my physical disorder, since God has not taken it away from me. But that’s not what the Bible tells us to do. We are told to approach God boldly, just as the woman touched Jesus’ robe. We can present our desires and struggles to God in prayer. He hears what we have to say, and He hears our hearts when our lips cannot speak the words. He sees every tear and knows every heartache we experience. Wetherell asks,
“Will we trust him to do what’s best—according to his wisdom and timing, not ours? And for his glory to be displayed in us—whether or not our requests are granted?”
In another article, When God Feels Far Away, Wetherell writes:
“So when we feel that God has forsaken us, we rely on what we know to be true: God’s holiness reigns, and he has granted us sure, unending access to his presence by grace through faith, by the blood of his Son.
By faith, may we persevere with hope by running to God’s Word of truth. May we rely on his reigning holiness and faithful deliverance, despite how we feel. In God’s perfect timing and by his grace, may we let his truth transform our feelings, that we may sing praise along with David, “God has heard when I cried to him.””
I am humbled at who You are. You are the God who heals not only physically but also spiritually. You are the only One who can purify the soul. I thank you that no matter what kind of pain I experience in this life, I can be assured that my soul is healed forever in You. Because of Your healing I can come boldly to you now in prayer, and I can trust in the life you have given me to live on this earth because you are with me and the Holy Spirit resides in me. I pray for healing for myself and for all those who trust in you and question their suffering. Lord, give us clarity in our suffering that even though we might not understand why, we can understand how we will get through it. Help me to understand that every footstep I take is with you by my side. Holy Spirit convict me to draw closer to you when I am uncertain about the whys of life, and Jesus help me to find rest and peace in you when I feel forgotten. I know that You have not forgotten me, and I know that at the proper time, whether in this life or the next, you will grant me physical healing in addition to the spiritual healing I am so grateful for. For Your Word tells me that You will wipe away every tear and that one day there will be no more death, grief, or pain. I am thankful for each day You have given me, for You are with me wherever I go and whatever I go through. My hope is in You always.
In Your glorious name Jesus, Amen.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” -Rev. 21:4
Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date:March 13, 2017
Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com.