Mar. 1, 2013
A swarm of people were following Jesus, crowding in on him. A woman was there who had been bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot under the care of many doctors, and had spent everything she had without getting any better. In fact, she had gotten worse. Because she had heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothes. She was thinking, If I can just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed. Her bleeding stopped immediately, and she sensed in her body that her illness had been healed.
My friend Carlene has struggled with cancer for many years. The cancer has moved to various places throughout her body. Two weeks ago over coffee, we had a frank discussion about health, life and life after death. She was expecting another chemo treatment a week later. She was very aware that successful treatment options were limited.
On Monday, Carlene’s husband called. Carlene had the chemo treatment last Thursday but had not responded well. She was at the hospital in excruciating pain. Things looked very grim. On Wednesday, Carlene came home on Hospice. Daily she slips further from this world.
Those who know Carlene agree she has endured more challenges in her life than anyone should endure. Her youngest son died of brain cancer when he was a senior in high school. About 18 months later, her other son died in a motorcycle accident. Meanwhile, Carlene was going through her own cancer diagnosis and treatments.
I became acquainted with Carlene after the death of her first son. While I do not understand what it means to live through the death of a child, I related from the perspective of a person who has watched their spouse loose a child. We became fast friends. We don’t talk every week or every month. We believe in the quality of conversation and time, not the quantity. We have talked about faith, trust, healing and experiencing seemingly unmanageable life situations.
We have also talked about healing. Carlene and I agree that ultimate healing is not always possible on this earth but eternal healing gives us hope. I have consistently admired Carlene for continually seeking Jesus’ healing hand, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual healing for herself. She literally desired to touch Jesus’ figurative clothing and “be healed.” She was also very realistic, in knowing that ultimate healing would happen at the end of her earthly life as she experiences an eternal home in heaven.
On Wednesday, I asked Carlene if she was afraid of anything. Even though words were difficult for her, she clearly told me that she is not scared of dying. This is the type of healing I know she wants and desires. It’s the kind of healing that can only come through Jesus Christ. This, my friends, is the form of healing I pray for all of us.
Lord God, I pray for those who suffer physically that we quietly name. As the great physician, you can and will ultimately heal us. Let us have faith, like the woman who only wanted to touch Jesus’ clothes, that healing is very possible. May we have confidence in your ability to heal in the very best way possible.