Held by A Hem

One touch of His garment was enough, enough to heal her inside and out. Her life was held and transformed by one touch of a hem. She had only half-believed He was the hope she had long sought. It was probably desperation more than deep faith that drove her, quite literally, to grasping measures. Grasping for straws, grasping at a cloak; same thing, right?

She had been right and wrong. Right to run to him, to risk it all; wrong in her fear that He would be another in a long line of harrowing disappointments.

All we know of the hemorrhaging woman is that she touched a hem of Christ’s garment. A mere hem was enough to hold her her hope and change the trajectory of her life.


Her chronic bleeding stopped, which in and of itself would have been enough; yet, the empty ache of abandonment had been clotted and closed as well, which was something she had never even dared to hope.

Daughter, He had called her daughter. Not client, not patient, not thief, not nuisance, though all would have been accurate to some degree. He had addressed her as daughter.

One phrase and one touch are all that is recorded of her in the gospel accounts; however, that fleeting encounter was enough to turn her world right-side up, to shift her orbit from despair to belief.

Even if Christ never showed up in her life again, the touch of His hem would have been enough to hold her eternally. What kind of man must He have been, must He be, that one touch, one word, one word from Him was and is enough to begin the transformation of whole lives?

The God-man, of course. The living hope. The One who remains potent and present millennia later continuing to transform lives in a moment.

The power of the Risen Christ that extends to those who were not privileged to have physically known and seen and heard Him in His lifetime on earth. Frederick Buechner beautifully captures this by saying the following:

“He is also Christ risen in the shabby hearts of those who, although they have never touched the mark of the nails, have been themselves so touched by Him that they believe anyway. However faded and threadbare, what they have seen of Him is at least enough to get their bearings by.”

While one brief encounter with His word or His Spirit or His people would be enough to hold us in rapt attention and transform us, His grace goes so much further. He offers us, those who haven’t seen Him in person or touched His physical garments, more than a hem; He offers us His hand.

While the bleeding women was blessed into believing the Christ whose hem she physically grasped, we are offered a blessing far more powerful, though it is hard to imagine such.

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe (John 20:29). Blessed by and through an ongoing, vital relationship with Him.

Her eternity, beginning right there at the crowded encounter was held by a hem. We, who would be held enough by a hem, get the invitation to continually, eternally hold His hand.

What manner of love is this?

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:3-4.

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward, you will take me into glory. Psalm 73:23-24. 

May we be captured anew by the fact that God who could hold us eternally with his hem has chosen to hold us by the hand from here until glory.

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