Now these are accounts I’ve read numerous times as a believer, however upon reading them all together, I was struck with an interesting piece of information that I’d never noticed before. All 3 of the accounts state that the woman had been subject to bleeding for 12 years, which is something I think we can just read right over. But think about it—she was suffering for 12 whole years of her life- and all the authors thought it important to make note of this.
Then in two of the accounts something else jumped out at me that I don’t remember reading before—the little girl who had died was 12 years old. I found it interesting that the gospel writers thought it important to note how old the girl was- and then I realized-- it matched the same length of time that the woman had been bleeding!
This shared number caused me to start thinking more about these two individuals. Neither the woman nor the girl is named in any of the accounts- and yet we are given information about specific years of their lives. I realized that when this little girl was born, this woman started bleeding. As the little girl learned to walk, and talk and play, this woman was suffering and spending all she had on doctors and treatments. As this little girl matured, the woman suffered still and probably wondered if she would ever find healing. She had no freedom from her pain.
Joy and pain were co-existing… probably only miles away. Such a picture of real life.
Suddenly all that changed for the little girl and her family, because at the age of 12, she was dying. Of what, we don’t know. Suddenly her situation was as desperate as the bleeding woman she knew nothing of.
Amazing how pain and suffering bring us to a point of unity and suddenly we have so much in common with people we’ve perhaps never met. Suddenly our need for healing- our need of deliverance unites us…makes us desperate for a savior.
We know the story. The woman- in desperation and in faith, reaches out to touch Jesus- convinced that he can heal her. And he does. His power goes out from him and instantly she is healed. Instantly. 12 years of suffering and living as an outcast have ended in a second—her life will never be the same! Jesus tells her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."
Next come in the friends of the 12-year-old’s father—telling him it is too late- the daughter has died. Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." He did…and she was.
I keep thinking about this passage…trying to “get it” or grasp it. Does healing come as a result of our faith? Or because of the faith of others? Why do some suffer so long, while others are healed instantly?
The more I ask these questions and look at this passage the more I realize that the answers aren’t cut and dry. They never really are, are they? I’m also challenged to consider that perhaps the answers to these questions aren’t so important.
I may never understand God’s timing…but these stories remind me of a Truth. The truth that God cares about our pain and he wants us to reach out to him…to grasp at the hem of his robe and realize our desperate need of a Savior- whether we’ve known it for 12 years, or we’ve only just become conscious of our need.
Reach out in faith…and keep reaching. And look around you…sometimes we have to reach out in faith for others- when they’ve lost the strength to reach out for themselves.