The Hem of His Garment
18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.
20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the hem of his garment. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up.
26 News of this spread through all that region.
I was sitting in Church on beautiful sunny spring Sunday and our minister, started preaching from Matthew. My ears really perked up because he was talking about a man whose daughter had died and he believed if Jesus came and touched her she would live again. Pretty extraordinary stuff and definitely a part of the bible I hadn’t read lately.
This man’s faith caught my attention. I was really struggling. I was in my Junior Year of High School, not my best year. I had developed a frightening case of acne that had scared more than one date away. I was not close to my dad and didn’t know how to fix it. I think I was scaring my mom a little bit. I know she was praying for me a lot.
Then my ears perked up again, suddenly a woman appeared on the scene. She was really sick. She believe if she touched the hem of Jesus garment she would be healed. Now I was really listening! Then the still small voice within me started to speak. Now this is an expression from the bible Christians use instead of sounding crazy and saying God started talking to me. But in fact, deep in my heart, God started talking to me. I kept hearing the words, “If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.” I knew who He meant, Jesus wasn’t there in the flesh, he meant our beloved minister. He wanted me to touch his robe and be healed.
I was fighting this one hard. No way do we have altar calls in the Congregational Church and certainly not in the suburbs! Yet, I couldn’t shake the unmistakable, over-powering tug on my heart and soul. Healed from what? I was thinking all the while: acne, broken heart about my dad, rebellion, lousy attitude. You name it, I needed healing mind, soul and body badly. But really, walk up the aisle of the church and touch the minister’s robe?
I was getting really warm inside. Every time the dear minister said “If I only touch His cloak I will be healed” and “Your faith has healed you” — which seemed to be a refrain in his sermon — it was like someone putting a light charge of electricity through me.
Finally I got up. I walked up the very long aisle to the front of the church and touched our minister’s robe just as he was reading the words, “Take heart daughter, your faith has healed you.” And then he smiled at me and looked and the congregation. He said, our little one here has come seeking healing…he looked at me and I nodded. That was all I could do. Then he turned to the congregation and said something like…if any more of you would like prayer please come up and join us here. And people came forward! And he prayed for all of us. Many hearts were touched. It was the very first alter call ever in that church, but certainly not the last.
Did I get healed? In every way. It was the beginning of a work of restoration of faith in my Lord. I know my desire to be closer to Him and to my Dad was in the works. What about my skin? That wasn’t instant, but there was a healing that took place. The dermatologist had spoken with me about treatments to fix scarring and pitting down the line. Due to the healing started that day, none of that was ever necessary. It was like I was given brand new skin!
I do have an interested post script to this story. Years later, I was working in the marketing department of a Life Insurance company in downtown Minneapolis. I was on a company weekend at their home office in Wisconsin and was up late one night talking to one of the women executives. She and I had really hit it off and she knew I was a person of faith. She said she was once a Congregationalist, but she got really turned off to church one Sunday. I asked her what happened. She said a young girl got up at the end of the sermon and walked up and touched the minister’s robe. It turned her off completely.
I was able to tell her that that young person was me and I gave the story to her from my perspective a bit. It was so amazing. That wonderful woman opened her heart back up to God that night. She thought that if He would go to all the trouble of finding that girl and put her back in her path all these years later, He must care about her a lot. And of course, I agreed!