May 18, 2009

Touching the hem of His garment

Mark 5:25-34

In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She had gone to many doctors, and they had not done anything except cause her a lot of pain. She had paid them all the money she had. But instead of getting better, she only got worse. The woman had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him in the crowd and barely touched his clothes. She had said to herself, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.” As soon as she touched them, her bleeding stopped, and she knew she was well. At that moment Jesus felt power go out from him. He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples said to him, “Look at all these people crowding around you! How can you ask who touched you?” But Jesus turned to see who had touched him. The woman knew what had happened to her. She came shaking with fear and knelt down in front of Jesus. Then she told him the whole story. Jesus said to the woman, “You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain.”

I read the scripture passage to the right this morning as I began my day. It's interesting how we can read passages of scripture that we have read many times before and they suddenly take on a new meaning—or at least a new application because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. And this morning as I read the account of this woman's healing, it struck me that we all have our own need for healing.

This past Saturday our son had Saturday school again. This means that our family loses an entire Saturday that we might have used to accomplish other tasks. Instead of working on those pressing things, we must wait for more than four hours for David to finish his schooling. To offset the inconvenience of Saturday school, Kim and I try to do some thing that we really enjoy about Lynchburg. But, of course, this past Saturday those things took on a new bittersweet meaning because very soon we will not be living here in the city that we have grown to love so much.

So after we dropped David off at the school, we headed down to the Lynchburg market. We have always tried our best to support local businesses. More than 20 years ago we chose to go to the small "Mom and Pop" grocery stores rather than the big franchise stores because we wanted to support those local businesses. We were willing to pay slightly more for our milk and eggs in order to help these folks stay in business.

The Lynchburg Market has local grown produce, crafts, and other local products. It's a delightful place to get a taste of Lynchburg living. We go there even during the winter months when the vendors are scarce.

But this past Saturday, the market vendors were plentiful and the consumers were abundant. Local grown vegetables and flowers were bursting out all over the place. Myriad colors and scents were mixed in a pleasant cacophony of greeting, buying, and selling. It is a wonderful thing to behold and we really love it.

I spent some time as a youth in Pennsylvania Dutch country. I grew to love the Amish and Mennonite people and to appreciate their lifestyle. So it's great to see the Mennonite farmers and their families at the booths. We've gotten to know some of the other local farmers there at the Market too. The owner of Chateau Z Vineyards from the Roanoke area of Virginia and another vegetable farmer from just outside Lynchburg both know our faces and greet us warmly when they see us. We've tried to purchase from them regularly, even purchasing apples from the farmer to feed the deer in our yard during the coldest part of the winter.

But this past Saturday we had a little bit of difficulty as we talked with these friends. It was difficult because we realize that this may be the last time we will see them and the last time we will visit the Lynchburg Market. Because we will be moving soon.

As we took in the smells, sights, and sounds of the market this past Saturday, we were struck with an odd nostalgia about this city that we have come to love. God blesses us in so many ways and the Lynchburg Market, although this may seem a bit strange to some, is one of the things we see as a blessing that God blessed us with for the past couple of years.

After walking through the Market and talking with the local farmers that we have come to know over our many visits, we crossed the street to one of our other favorite Lynchburg locations—The White Hart coffee shop.

I've told you before about this unique and delightful place. They have the best coffee around and the atmosphere just can't be beat. But again, this time the visit was bittersweet as we took in the atmosphere of the White Hart for what will likely be our last time. It's hard to say goodbye—even when you're saying goodbye to a barrister, or to the brick & mortar shop that houses the place of interest.

So then, what does all of this have to do with the woman whose flow of blood was healed by Jesus?

I know, I know—this may seem like a bit of a leap. But I think this is sometimes the way the Holy Spirit guides us into the truth.

Kim, David, and I are hurting. We thought that God had moved us to Lynchburg to settle in for good. Kim and I have attempted to move out of Northern Virginia since we first got married 23 years ago. We've made multiple attempts to make that happen, but until David was placed in a Lynchburg hospital, none of those attempts ever worked out.

And then God moved us to Lynchburg. It was a wonderful wave of relief to finally get out of the Northern Virginia/Washington, DC, area and we were so happy that it had finally happened. In addition to the relief of leaving Northern Virginia, we found that Lynchburg is a wonderful little city with tremendous history and character. It has been a welcome relief to get to know this city and her people. And we were hoping to retire here.

But that was not God's plan. We're now moving on and the move is exciting, but difficult. It is very hard to say goodbye to Lynchburg. Our souls are hurting. We don't have an issue of blood, but we have wounded souls in need of healing.

The woman in the scripture passage was not healed by touching Jesus' garment. As Jesus told her, she was healed by her faith in Christ. And that's where the application seems to fit. Kim, David, and I are in need of healing and this passage tells us where that healing will come from. We must have faith. We must have faith that God is Jehovah Jireh—the Provider. We know in our heads that God is sovereign and is working all of these things for his glory and for our benefit, but our souls need the healing of resting in the fact that he is in control and that we are safer in his loving embrace than we would be if we pursued what seems right to us.


  1. What a poignant way of expressing your hurt. It is obvious you love this city, and the pictures are beautiful. I will pray for you all tonight.

  2. Thank you for sharing God's application of scripture to your present need. As someone looking to the end of our time in Switzerland, I can relate to saying good-bye to a place you have learned to love. Daily as I approach unknowns about tomorrow, I too am so aware of God's sovereignty in every aspect of our lives. There is often distance between knowing in our heads and peace in our hearts. That distance is faith. Thank our Lord for His gifts of faith!

  3. Hey Mrs. T, when are you coming home? Good for us. I only get to see you when your offspring gets married :).

  4. Oh this is so hard. We pull up stakes when young - it all seems so exciting. But when we are older change is so hard and when we can't control it - it's harder. God truly is our only constant. I will keep praying for you all, to find a suitable and wonderful new place and peace throughout it all.

  5. Mrs. T. I'm sorry you'll have to leave Switzerland too. Upheaval is never easy and you are so right about the distance between knowing in our heads and peace in our hearts. Sometimes I think the phrase, "O ye of little faith" is speaking directly to me.

    Simplegifts3 and Decadent - thank you for your prayers. They are greatly appreciated.


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