A Miracle-Working God
As winter would pass and summer drew closer, you could see a sense of relief on her face, perhaps with the thought; “I have made it once again through another winter; summer brings the promise of warmer weather and less pain.” This cycle went on for several years until one Sabbath, she miraculously found a cure.
In the Bible there is the experience of a woman, and the Spirit of Prophecy describes her as: “a poor woman who for twelve years had suffered from a disease that made her life a burden.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 343.
We can read about her in the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 5.
“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” ().
Let us pause here for a moment.records that she “suffered many things of many physicians.” One would expect that she had suffered much from the disease alone; however, we are made aware of the reality that she had an “incurable” disease. Test after test, remedy after remedy, she was only left feeling worse, with less financial means and no hope to find a cure.
“But her hopes revived when she heard of the cures that Christ performed. She felt assured that if she could only go to Him, she would be healed. In weakness and suffering she came to the seaside where He was teaching, and tried to press through the crowd, but in vain. Again, she followed Him from the house of Levi-Matthew, but was still unable to reach Him. She had begun to despair, when, in making His way through the multitude, He came near where she was.
“The golden opportunity had come. She was in the presence of the Great Physician! But amid the confusion she could not speak to Him, nor catch more than a passing glimpse of His figure. Fearful of losing her one chance of relief, she pressed forward, saying to herself, ‘If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.’ As He was passing, she reached forward, and succeeded in barely touching the border of His garment. But in that moment she knew that she was healed. In that one touch was concentrated the faith of her life, and instantly her pain and feebleness gave place to the vigor of perfect health.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 343, 344.
What an amazing moment that must have been—for her to feel the “perfect health” she had so long forgotten! In the Bible, the story can so easily be overlooked as it alludes to her only making one successful attempt to touch the hem of Christ’s garment. I, however, appreciate the detail of the story that is expressed in the Spirit of Prophecy that she had two failed attempts before receiving the healing she needed from Christ. What joy it brings to us as we read that as she was about to give up, Christ Himself moved to where she was, so that she could act upon her faith and be healed.
This certainly should make us pause to think: Have I done all I can to touch the hem of Christ’s garment? Have I fallen on my knees enough times to now give up? Perhaps there is just one more attempt I should make so that even though I may barely reach the “hem” of Christ, I believe that I will be made whole from whatever my struggle is?
The reason we should be asking ourselves these questions is because of what happened next:
“And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” ().
I believe that the reason for Christ “exposing” this woman was to leave us with a lesson to show that even though the people in the crowd were touching Him, they were not made whole because of the intent with which they had come to see Jesus. None of them felt the need for a Saviour. Neither did they identify any problem within them that needed fixing.
What, then, is our intent when we meet with Christ?
“Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’
“Henceforth you are not your own; you are bought with a price. ‘Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.’, . Through this simple act of believing God, the Holy Spirit has begotten a new life in your heart. You are as a child born into the family of God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.
“If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.
“Put away the suspicion that God’s promises are not meant for you. They are for every repentant transgressor. Strength and grace have been provided through Christ to be brought by ministering angels to every believing soul. None are so sinful that they cannot find strength, purity, and righteousness in Jesus, who died for them.”—A Call to Stand Apart, p. 30.
“It was not through the outward contact with Him, but through the faith which took hold on His divine power, that the cure was wrought.
“The wondering crowd that pressed close about Christ realized no accession of vital power. But when the suffering woman put forth her hand to touch Him, believing that she would be made whole, she felt the healing virtue. So in spiritual things. To talk of religion in a casual way, to pray without soul hunger and living faith, avails nothing. A nominal faith in Christ, which accepts Him merely as the Saviour of the world, can never bring healing to the soul. The faith that is unto salvation is not a mere intellectual assent to the truth. He who waits for entire knowledge before he will exercise faith, cannot receive blessing from God. It is not enough to believe about Christ; we must believe in Him. The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour; which appropriates His merits to ourselves. Many hold faith as an opinion. Saving faith is a transaction by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God. Genuine faith is life. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 347. [Author’s italics for emphasis.]
What a wonderful point this quotation makes! Christ should be our personal Saviour first, before anything else.
You may be wondering what the miraculous cure was that my mother found that Sabbath: By God’s guidance, while visiting a nature reserve on the Sabbath afternoon, we met fellow Sabbathkeepers and my mother was introduced to a book titled, Ek leef van Vrugte (“I Live on Fruit”) by Essie Honiball. In her attempt to get a copy of the book the following week, my mother visited our community library and, believe it or not, it was there but unfortunately checked out. After a couple of days, she returned to the library, but the book was once again not available. Only on her fourth attempt and after much prayer was the book finally available.
She started to read it and soon implemented a strict detox diet with fruit and water so that after some months her rheumatoid arthritis was healed to the point that winters were no longer a burden—she was able to walk and enjoy life again. One day she visited the doctor who, to his surprise, was shocked at her recovery. Immediately the doctor gave credit to the medication saying that it was the reason for her cure, but my Mom immediately told her doctor that it was God, who through natural remedies, gave her healing. What a testimony that must have been!
This is why I believe God wants to heal us—physically and spiritually—so that praise, glory and honor may be given to Him through Jesus, Christ. “It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth” ().
“The physical restoration of every soul that came to Christ to be healed is an assurance that he is fully able to take away sin, and to heal the diseased soul. He is ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ ”—The Signs of the Times, August 5, 1897.
“Through the grace of Christ every provision has been made for the perfecting of Christlike characters; and God is honored when His people, in all their social and business dealings, reveal the principles of heaven.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 154.
I would like to conclude by leaving you with this thought: As God’s people, we need more faith, “… faith that will take hold and will not let go.”—Ibid., p. 88. A “faith that will endure the test. Oh, how often we yield to temptation because we do not keep our eye upon Jesus!”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 652.
“We need faith in God, that under the sanctifying power of God’s Word, the principles of human brotherhood may be manifested. We need the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Its power upon mind and heart will enable us to present the truths of God’s Holy Word. Sound doctrines brought into actual contact with human souls will result in sound and elevating practices. The truth as it is in Jesus must be cherished. Then Christians will not be Christians in name only. The love of Christ will pervade their lives.”—Reflecting Christ, p. 113.
May God help us as we continue to be healed until He returns, so that we may never feel diseased again!