healing in the telling

[Mark 5:24-34] She ducked as she slipped through the crowd. An elbow grazed her ear. A man stepped back and knocked her forward. A child’s foot danced over hers, but nothing deterred her. In fact, the opportunity for anonymity spurred her on. By Jewish Law and societal pressures, this woman’s condition would have forced her to live an isolated life. Physical contact with her would render another ceremonially unclean. Those around her had learned to keep their distance, and she had learned to stay away. In their own excited frenzy, this crowd of people surrounding Christ provided the cover she needed to approach the Man who embodied her only remaining hope.

What holds us back from approaching our Healer?

When Jesus was finally close enough to touch, she reached out boldly for the hem of His robe.

Could we be so brave? What kind of healing do you need? The Spirit of Christ can heal bodies and hearts and minds. He can mend marriages and friendships. He can bind up brokenness whether it be spiritual or physical. Come as you are to the Lord today. Reach out for His cloak. Ask Him for His healing.

I don’t know why some people are healed this side of heaven and some aren’t. I don’t know why some healing is immediate and some takes time. But I do know that I would rather engage my Healer than quietly nurse my own wounds. I would rather reach out for His cloak with my last bit of faith and hope than stand silent in a crowd and assume He wouldn’t move to heal me. I’m pretty sure that whether or not the bleeding stops, I’d rather be clinging to the hem of Christ’s robe than releasing hope altogether.

In her case, “immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease” (Mark 5:29). Amazement soon gave way to uncertain anxiety as Jesus turned toward the crowd, “Who touched My garments?”

I imagine that at this point, the woman faced a dilemma. She had already sensed her healing. She could have remained anonymous. Even Jesus’ disciples inadvertently offered her a way out, explaining to Jesus that there was no way to know who touched Him: a whole crowd was reaching toward and jostling the Lord.

Jesus was focused, though. He was unhurried. Jesus continued looking through throngs of people for the one who had touched Him. He had felt that power had left Him, and He apparently wanted to know to whom it had gone.

Her body was healed, but Jesus also had in mind the things of the heart.

“The woman,” the Scripture reads, “knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth” (Mark 5:33).

She told Him the whole truth. I love that. Haven’t we all done that? A question or a comment or a well-timed look sparks something in us. There is sometimes a brief second where silence is still an option. But then--not sure where to begin or where to end--words pour from our lips and splash all over another. There might be tears. There might be nervous laughter. There might be that awkward moment when we realize we’ve just “told the whole truth” whether or not they were really asking to hear it. And we wait and pray and hope that they’ll either respond or that we’ll be supernaturally and rapidly transported to a less uncomfortable situation.

It's not that I have some big secret that I'm keeping from the Lord. It's not that there's something I need to say that I think might shock Him--or even you for that matter. It's just that there are some thoughts brimming just below the surface, and I've spent too much time measuring words that I should have just gone ahead and said. It's a hard habit to break.

There is a quote that I still remember from a journal I had in the sixth grade:

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” Dinah Marie Mulock

Yes, such comfort. I recently told a friend a detail of my story that I don't tell many people. It isn't even scandalous, but it involves a few too many people to share openly. You know the kind. We all have them. But I told her, and she said, "Oh, yeah, I had already figured that out." Oh. Well, then. Good. Sometimes our secrets tell us before we tell them. But there is such freedom in the speaking of them--in the right place, to the right people, at the right time.

Like that friend who had already figured it out but waited for me to decide to share, our God looks at our hearts and lets the unspoken things lie there until we are ready to give them voice.

He knows. But He waits.

He stands in the middle of a bustling crowd and asks who has reached for Him. And we stand, longing to fall before Him but terrified of it too. Longing to step out and be seen but terrified of being exposed.

Until the pressure of it builds in our chest, and the fear of being passed by is greater than the fear of being known. 

And we lay before Him, and the words fall out choppy and unmeasured. And we stop trying to make sense of it, and we just tell Him what we know, what we saw, what has happened.

And it doesn't feel at all holy but we know it somehow is.

There she lay, on the ground before the Lord in front of a mass of people, wondering what He might say. Would He be angry that she had touched Him? Would He be appalled by her situation? Would He be annoyed by the delay? Would others laugh? Would she care? Would He revoke the healing? Could He?

There is safety in anonymity, and I'd have understood it if she'd chosen instead to walk away.

But then His words: “Daughter,” He called her. “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34).

Take some time now in the presence of our Lord to “tell Him the whole truth.” Tell Him how badly it hurts. Tell Him how it feels when no one else understands. Tell Him how much courage it took to push through the throng of people to reach for His robe. Tell Him how excited you were when you first sensed your healing. Tell Him how disappointed you were when the healing seemed to fail. Tell Him what you’re afraid of. Tell Him everything. Open your mouth and begin to speak. Talk until you’re finished. Whatever else is going on the world, He has all the time you need.

Tell Him the whole truth. Because He is faithful to comfort, to heal, to cover. Because He already knows but longs to hear.

Because He knows there is healing in the telling.