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  • Writer's pictureMeredith Swift

Clinging to His Hem - November 10, 2019


Touching Jesus Robe | Painting — Simon Dewey | Image — theadditionalneedsblogfather.com


Intense Suffering

In the Book of Luke, 8.43-48, and the Book of Mark, 5:25-34, we read about a woman who had been haemorrhaging severely for 12 years. Needless to say, her suffering had been intense. She had spent all her money seeking help from many physicians but none could heal her. She had heard about Jesus and on the day that she met Him, she was one person amidst a very large crowd - a multitude - who were waiting for Him. Distraught and desperate for healing, I can imagine her pushing her way through the throngs of people to get close to Jesus. This very sick and suffering woman believed that if only she could touch His clothes, she would be made well. She was able to get close - just enough to touch the hem of His garment. And as she did so, the haemorrhaging stopped!



Instantly Healed

Jesus, at that moment, also stopped. He asked Peter and the other disciples who were with Him if they knew who had touched Him because He perceived power going out from Him. And this totally exhausted, incredibly resilient, brave and beautiful woman fell down before Jesus and declared, trembling, why she had done what she had done - and how she had been instantly healed! And Jesus, being Jesus, comforted her and encouraged her, telling her that her faith had made her well and to go in peace.



Seeking Comfort and Healing

This is one of many encouraging and amazing stories in the New Testament, testifying to the myriad of ways in which Jesus ministered to and healed people. I can very much identify with the woman described in this passage of Scripture. When I was trapped within the confines of an abusive marriage, I was in a constant weakened and powerless state. I felt as though I was haemorrhaging; my life force draining from me. I was desperate for healing and a way out of the paralysis of a violent situation. My desperation led me to run - yet again - from my husband to the safety of a refuge. In those first days of freedom it was as though I, too, was clinging onto Jesus' hem. In my fragile and raw emotional state, I sought comfort and healing from Jesus. Back then, my relationship with Him was still new. I would speak with Him as my friend and I was aware of His constant presence close by me but I was not yet familiar with the words of many of His Holy Scriptures.


I searched for a book which might give me comfort, which could point me towards the Scriptures that would speak to my heart and give me validation that what I had done was not going against God and His plan for marriage. So many lies had infiltrated my mind and permeated my heart. Despite the torment and abuse I had suffered in my marriage there was a part of me that believed that I had disappointed God through not staying with my husband.



God's Heart For Women

I have since found that this belief is faulty. For Scripture speaks profoundly of God's heart for women and His design for marriage - a design where each partner lifts the other up, edifying each other, caring for and submitting to one another. The two become one. Two cannot become one where there is manipulation, control and abuse present. The love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 holds kindness and truth and it is this love that God intended when He created man and woman for each other.


Fast forward eight years and I have written the book that I was searching for back then. My new devotional, "Heart For Women - A 40-Day Devotional of Comfort, Hope and Healing For Women Breaking Free of the Shackles of Domestic Violence", is the book I wanted to read when I was in that refuge. And just as it was with my first book "Hearing His Voice - Meeting Jesus in the Garden of Promise: A Devotional Journey Of Encouragement" Jesus has given me the words for this new book - to speak comfort and soothing into the hearts of women who are raw and fragile, aching and vulnerable. He has given me the words to uplift women at a time when they are stepping into the unknown and daring to hope that they have found a safe refuge, a place of restoration where a new season can begin and a new life can be formed.



A Journey of Intense Vulnerability

The journey that I have travelled in the writing of this book has been one of intense vulnerability. I have clung to Jesus' hem as He brings me through this. It has been a voyage back in time, so to speak, to when I was first in recovery. I am not reliving that time but rather looking back at it as though separated from it by a veil - yet close enough to touch it. I remember it all so vividly!


And as I remember, the tears are never far away, the ache in my heart is a whispered remembrance of a time where I first began walking in faith - or rather, stumbling along in faith and leaning on and into Jesus in desperation. Like the woman who clung to the hem of Jesus, exposed and raw in her desperate hope for healing, I have chosen to lay myself open and vulnerable to Him. I have cried out to Him so many times, pouring out my heart to Him in anguish, trusting Him that He could help Me and give me hope and healing. And He has never failed me.


Placing my relationship with Jesus firmly at the centre of my life has brought me a peace that I could never have imagined and which I do not believe I can ever hope to understand. His ways are so mysterious to me yet at the same time they are more real and true than anything else I have ever experienced in my life. Living His way is by no means easy and requires obedience and willingness to put Him first. And now as I cling to the hem of Jesus, I realise more and more that I can do nothing apart from Him and that I need Him more than I can even begin to imagine.


His loving kindness and tender mercy has brought me through into a new season. Like the haemorrhaging woman who was healed, I no longer need to be hidden, with that life force slowly but surely draining out of me. That incredibly brave and resilient woman haemorrhaged incessantly for 12 years, going from physician to physician with no reprieve to her suffering. Can you imagine? And then finally she came face to face with the Great Physician, believing that if she could just touch his clothes she would be healed. Her faith made her well.



Our Faith In Jesus Makes Us Well

And our faith in Jesus, when we come to Him, makes us well. It is a wellness not measured by physical or emotional or mental health but a supernatural wellness as we become a new creation in Him and He begins to do a work in us. His sacrificial death on that cruel cross while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8) is the means whereby we gain that wellness as our relationship with our Heavenly Father is restored.


Through the sacrifice of His son Jesus, we are released from the weight of sin and the bondage of death. We become conformed to His image (Romans 8:29), part of His body (1 Corinthians 12:27), given His mind (1 Corinthians 2:16) and new hearts of flesh where once we had hearts of stone (Ezekiel 36:26). By His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5) as our inner man strengthens with might through His Spirit (Ephesians 3:16) each day that we journey with Him.


Hallelujah! We praise His mighty name!



Scriptures

Luke 8:43 Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, 44 came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately the flow of blood stopped. 45 And Jesus said, "Who touched Me?" When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, "Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" 46 But Jesus said, "Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me." 47 Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately. 48 And He said to her, "Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace."


Mark 5:25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My clothes?" 31 But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitudes thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."

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