Mark 5: 34
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
What are you waiting for?
For the marriage to improve, for a job offer, for direction on that dissertation, for the divorce to become final, for labor to start after 40 long sick weeks, for reconciliation, for pregnancy after years of trying, for the spouse that you are still trusting God to provide, for the kids to start college, for the phone to ring with those test results . . .
We are all in some stage of waiting. For the unnamed woman with the issue of blood as described in Mark 5, it has been 12 years. It’s upsetting that this woman’s name is not mentioned, so I will call her Miranda.
This story is about faith and timing. Miranda’s healing happens just as Jesus is on his way to heal Jairus’s little girl. Let’s do a close up of the minutes between Miranda touching Jesus’ cloak and the news that the little girl is already dead. “Who touched me?” Jesus asks as he feels power leave him. The disciples respond with, “Um, Master, we’re in a crowd of about 500 people bumping elbows and legs.” Jesus already knows Miranda’s condition and who she is. Why is he asking this question? Jesus wants her to identify herself. She is terrified to do so, but when she does fall at his feet and share her story, he tells her that her faith has made her well.
Why do you suppose Jesus healed Miranda before the girl? The girl’s condition is life-threatening. In fact, she dies as Jesus is on his way. In the amount of time it took for Jesus to ask who touched him and for Miranda to identify herself, someone informs Jesus that the little girl has died. Can you imagine what Jairus must have been thinking? (I came to Jesus first, right? And you distract him, Miranda, and now my kid is dead? So not fair!) Couldn’t Miranda have waited another day? Yet this is the perfect opportunity for Jesus to show his power over death.
Both Miranda and Jairus are desperate and determined, but to different degrees. Miranda has zero social standing, but is convinced that just touching that cloak will heal her, even if it means breaking every Jewish law. Jairus also has a lot to lose. His association with Jesus could seriously undermine his prominent social standing as a synagogue leader. But his daughter was even more important. In both cases, it was faith that enabled Jesus to do the healings, not social standing or wealth. Both lives are transformed. Isn’t it interesting that sometimes it takes desperation before we fall before Jesus’ feet?
If I had a time machine, I’d like to travel back in time to that day and ask Miranda some questions. What’s your actual name? When did the bleeding start? How had the doctors tried to help you before they took all your money? How did you hear about Jesus passing through town? How on earth did you cope for 12 long years of social isolation? What’s your advice for how to endure a time of waiting? Then I’d hug her and say, “ Today was your turn.”
I believe, but forgive my unbelief and ongoing doubt about who you are and your love for me. Forgive me for my impatience as I wait in this place. Forgive me for questioning the story you’ve written for me. Help me to remember that it is good to wait for you. I, too, long to reach out and touch that cloak. Amen.