Tonight at Deeper I decided to spend some time reading my Bible. Regardless of what is going on in the service, Deeper has really become more of a time that I set aside to spend time with God in whatever way I feel like that night (worship, prayer, Bible reading, journaling, etc.). I decided to start with the book of Matthew since I've recently seen Godspell, a musical loosely based on the Gospel of Matthew.
As I read, different things stood out to me. I enjoyed just reading through, pausing to reflect on certain passages. And then I got to chapter 9. My Bible is New Living Translation, and here's what Mt 9:19-22 says: "As Jesus and the disciples were going to the official's home, a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, 'If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.' Jesus turned around and said to her, 'Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.' And the woman was healed at that moment." I've certainly heard this story before. But the word "daughter" caught my eye, and I wanted to see how this story was told in other gospels.
Luke 8:43-48 is the other telling of this story. This account gives more details. It says, "And there was a woman in the crows who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent everything she had on doctors and still could find no cure. She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. 'Who touched me?' Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, 'Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.' But Jesus told him, 'No, someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.' When the woman realized that Jesus knew, she began to tremble and fell to her knees before him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. 'Daughter,' he said to her, 'your faith has made you well. Go in peace.'"
This woman is desperate. She has done everything she can to get well, spent everything she had trying to find a cure. She knows Jesus is the answer, that he has the power to end her pain. But she doesn't do what most of the other people Jesus healed did. They went up to Jesus and asked him to heal them. She crept up behind him. If she was anything like me, maybe she felt like she didn't want to bother Jesus. He was obviously a very important man, and he was on his way somewhere to do something important. Maybe she didn't want to bother him, but she was desperate. So she sort of got her miracle on the sly. Except Jesus knew right away that something was up. And again, I think the woman reacted like I would; she was afraid of Jesus' reaction. I bet she was afraid Jesus would say, "Who do you think you are? You don't even have the courage to ask me to heal you? And now you're holding up this entire group when we're on our way to do something important!" Plus, she went through the embarrassment of telling everyone what was wrong with her!
I think the woman was probably stunned at Jesus' reaction. He did not condemn her. He did not yell at her or belittle her. He called her daughter. He commended her faith. And he told her to go in peace.
Sometimes when I pray, I feel like I'm bothering God. After all, he has a whole planet full of people to take care of. Who am I to catch his attention? But I do believe in the power of prayer. I know God can do anything. I really needed this reminder that God doesn't want us to feel bad for asking him to meet our needs. He isn't going to be fooled anyway, so why not boldly go to him with my requests? I am his daughter, and he cares about my pain, and he loves it when I have faith.