It had been 12 long years and the doctor bills had been piling up. She had seen several different physicians over that time and she was broke now. No medicine had taken care of the issue and there was nowhere left to go. It wasn’t that she didn’t want a healthier life, it was that she could no longer afford the experimental treatments to get it.
Several things could have caused her abnormal uterine bleeding. It could have been a miscarriage, a hormonal disorder, an ovulatory dysfunction, fibroid tumors, polyps, cancer, or something else entirely. Whatever the case, it now seemed hopeless. She figured she would have to walk in pain and discomfort all the rest of her life—however long that was with her condition.
On top of the physical pain, there was likely emotional pain too. After 12 long years, who all knew about her condition? Probably not just the people she told, but the people those people gossiped to. Perhaps she couldn’t look her friends in the eye without thinking that they were thinking about her condition right then. And in a culture where you weren’t allowed to engage in religious activities with a condition like hers, she would have felt even more ostracized. If she tried to go to the temple, would someone recognize her and ask her if she was still bleeding? If she told the truth, they would send her away. And if she lied, would they believe her after all these years? Would they want proof or something? Her shame-based society would obliterate her.
But then one day she met a new kind of doctor who healed a different kind of way and didn’t cost any money. Everyone in town had heard about this doctor’s abilities and crowded around him wanting to see what he’d do next. She, too, had heard about him and made her way through the crowd in attempts to touch him since others were often healed by his touch. This doctor was her last chance—if anyone could do it, it would be him. And so a broke, sick, hurt, ostracized woman reached out to touch the cloak of Jesus, and after 12 long years, the bleeding ceased immediately. And then Jesus spoke true identity over her shame, calling her a “daughter,” and spoke “peace and healing” over her fear and trembling.
A poor woman once went over to our church prayer team for prayer. She would be going into heart surgery that week to have a mass removed. We prayed for her and when the doctors went to do the surgery, they said there was no longer any need—the mass was gone. Such stories follow the people of Jesus when the people of Jesus are willing to believe and pray bigger prayers than, “God would you guide the doctor’s hands.” Always be open to praying for people, whether they’ve been sick 12 days or 12 years. Whether it’s a fever or a chronic condition.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Matthew 9:18-26 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post.