Longing for Wellness
Persistent hope for wellness is a longing held by many women.
The never-ending desire for freedom from a destructive habit or addiction.
A yearning for physical, emotional, spiritual or relational healing.
The hope of overcoming a life plagued by fear or insecurity.
Deep longing is seen in a woman described in the Bible. (Luke 8:43-48) Her name isn’t given. A description of her as the woman with an issue of blood speaks volumes. I contemplate what it might be like to sit down and visit with this lady. I imagine us warming our hands on mugs filled with hot coffee or tea. I hear myself calling her Miriam, and I imagine her story goes something like this.
An Ancient-Day Miriam’s Longing for Wellness
Pale…frightened…Miriam trembled as she pressed deeper into the crowd, “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,” she implored.
What Miriam did this day involved great risk. According to Jewish law, she wasn’t even allowed to touch another person, and here she was right smack in the middle of a throng of spectators—all hoping to see this man everyone in the region was talking about. Her jaw clenched in determination, Miriam was willing to carry out what she understood defied sacred law.
Desperation drove her deeper.
For twelve long years Miriam’s gynecological condition kept her ceremonially unclean. Constant hemorrhaging ostracized her from once familiar everyday activities. During long days of isolation, she recounted life’s simple joys—once so routine, taken for granted.
going to the market
chatting with her friends
preparing family meals
kissing her child’s “owie.”
During the more than four thousands nights she had lain in bed alone, Miriam remembered her husband’s caress—the warmth of his body against hers on a chilly evening.
Oh, how she’d longed to go to the temple and worship Yahweh.
How precious memories had become.
Over the years, her hopes had arisen time and again as yet another physician prescribed yet another treatment. The agonizing process involved painful procedures and depleted financial resources. She had tried anything that might help and no longer remembered how many times her hopes had been dashed. Even the compassionate Dr. Luke declared nothing could heal her.
Now, all alone, the desperate, courageous woman pressed on. If an inquirer had asked, she probably couldn’t have told him where the idea came from. All she knew was that the seed of longing had grown within her mind. A flicker of hope couldn’t be extinguished from her heart. And, today, Miriam entertained no doubt. The strange man who passed through Capernaum could do for her what no physician had been able to do.
The internal voice assured that if she could but touch his garment, the longtime condition cutting her off from all she held dear, would disappear. “With all these people around, no one will even notice me,” Miriam reasoned as she drew nearer and nearer to Jesus. Stretching out thin, weakened arms, finally she was able to grasp the hem of Jesus’s cloak.
She would never forget that feeling—something wonderful she had never felt before—coursing through her body. Miriam knew the horrible bleeding that had plagued her for years was no more. “I’m well,” she thought, giddy with excitement, preparing her quick exit from the crowd.
But, excitement soon turned to fear. Jesus stopped, looked around and asked, “Who touched me?” Silence blanketed the boisterous crowd. The burly fisherman, now called Peter, said, “Master, in this crowd, lots of people have been touching you.” Jesus persisted. “Someone touched me. I know that power has gone out from me.”
“I’m never going to get out of here unnoticed!” Miriam’s heart hammered. Perspiration beaded her brow. Trembling, she spoke softly, “Master, I’m the one who touched you.” Her story–years of pain and isolation–tumbled through trembling lips. She told Jesus about the outrageous idea that that had come to her.The action plan she’d developed. And, finally, the feeling she experienced when she touched him.
Jesus, eyes brimming with compassion and approval, said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Miriam exited the crowd, basking in new found wellness and delighting in the Lord her God.
Listening on Your Journey:
- Have you, or someone you know, longed for wellness? What is the condition? How long have you or your friend been hoping?
- To what part of Miriam’s story do you relate?
- What story would you pour out to Jesus?
(Next time we’ll hear the story of a Modern-Day Miriam’s longing for wellness.)
Ron wanted to take some photos right at dawn one Saturday morning. While we were walking on the Coeur d’Alene Resort boardwalk, we encountered only one other person—this young woman—who passed us, running along the boardwalk. Sometimes a longing for wellness motivates us to take special action steps—like rising at daybreak when most people are still sleeping—to go jogging.