"Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years." - Mark 5:25
We never learn her name. She is known only as the "hemorrhaging woman," afflicted with a bleeding condition for over a decade. Her ailment left her tired and frail; drained of money, sapped of hope. We all have bad days. This woman had a bad 12 years.
Worse, she was considered unclean and untouchable. No everyday contact, no caresses, no embraces. Can't give them, won't receive them.
Then Jesus walked by. The Lord was in a hurry, doing his darndest to get to the house of a big shot with a sick daughter. A crowd was pressing in, far bigger than the huddle around your pastor after worship, slowing him down.
That's when the woman made her move. She didn't dare touch him, just the edge of his robe. The crush of bodies should have provided ample cover. In any other circumstance, around anyone else, it would have.
But Jesus, being Jesus, knew. And the woman, being a child of God, was healed. And terrified. So Jesus called her "daughter" to banish the fear and complete her restoration.
You are her. Her name is your name. You also have a "blood issue." It might be a hemorrhage. More likely there is bad blood between you and someone else. Or maybe there is an open, festering wound somewhere in your life. Maybe you struggle with intimacy, even with God's touch.
The Lord knows. No matter who you are or where you are, God is near. You don't need an appointment. God is never too busy. All you need is just enough faith to reach out.
Heal me Lord, and embrace me as your very own.
Matthew Laney is the Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut.