A Hymn Devotion for 26 January 2021 Anno Domini
The Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
43 ¶ And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. Luke 8:43-48
There are few Christian believers, or people even of other faiths, who would not be deeply moved by the account of the ‘Woman taken with an Issue of Blood.’ If we are possessed by the kind of compassion that characterizes people of faith, we must feel in our hearts the pain this woman experienced – not for a moment of time – but over a period of many years (twelve, in fact). It was a constant distress to her physical being and her social status. She could not have married with such a condition. She may have had no one to share her pain. She had spent all her living in search of a cure. The more she sought healing at the hands of the physicians, the worse her condition became until her savings were exhausted. There was no other hope than Jesus. That is the plight of all sinners. She was at the point of desperation which is the ideal venue for every lost soul who is drawn to the healing waters of the Fountain of Life.
This hymn is the composition of George Frederick Root (1820-1895). He composed both lyrics and tune in 1864. As with every great hymn, it is designed to open our hearts to the Gospel of Christ.
SHE ONLY TOUCHED THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT
1 In faith she touched the hem of His garment
As to His side she stole,
Amid the crowd that gathered around Him,
And straightway she was whole.
I’ve touched the hem of His garment,
And now I, too, am free;
His healing pow’r this very hour
Gives life and health to me.
2 She came with fear and trembling before Him—
She knew her Lord had come;
She felt that from Him virtue had healed her,
The mighty deed was done. [Refrain]
3 He turned with, “Daughter, be of good comfort,
Thy faith hath made thee whole,”
And peace which passeth all understanding
With gladness filled her soul. [Refrain]
1 In faith she touched the hem of His garment As to His side she stole, Amid the crowd that gathered around Him, And straightway she was whole. This woman likely lived alone without the comfort of husband or children. She suffered all those years ALONE and that is the worst kind of suffering. She had heard rumors of this man, Jesus, and His miraculous powers to heal. If only she could come before Him seeking healing, but that did not seem to be a possibility. She had no idea what roads He traveled or the schedule of His visitations. But still, she dreamed of the possibility. “Seek and ye shall find” is not a meaningless phrase of our Lord. Little did she know that the Lord was already mindful of her condition and would use it as an illustration of genuine faith to the multitudes who followed. She heard the commotion outside her window. She ran to inquire of those below of the purpose of it. “Jesus is coming” was the happy response.
How strange – just the One for whom she had longed to see, and the only One with the power to restore her soul and body – He is coming! Hurriedly, she grabbed her shoal and scarf. Gingerly, she ran to the street, but it was packed by curiosity seekers and disciples. Her instincts led her to the vantage point on a low stoop from which she could see and identify Christ in the midst. It became obvious from the first that she would not be able to approach our Lord in the usual way. There were so many tightly gathered around Him. As they passed, she feared her hopes begin to fade. But wait! If she could as much as touch the hem of His garment – if she could draw that near to the Lord – she knew in her heart that she would be healed. Perhaps someone reading this devotion is desperate for a healing of the soul and body? Draw near by faith!
Draw near by faith and taste the goodness of the Lord! Many times it is those who are closest to Jesus who prevent others from approaching, but the diligent will always find a way. She shouldered herself gently through the crowd. It was not an easy effort. Finally, she could see Him clearly, hear His gentle Voice, almost close enough to speak to Him. But the bustle of the crowd caused her to lose ground. Desperately, she thought, “if I could only touch the hem of his garment – the lowest part of his vesture, surely I shall be healed.” She fell to the ground and crawled, hand and knee, below the passersby. Suddenly, with much vigor, she lunged forward and her falling hand did catch the hem of His garment. Immediately and without delay, she felt a great healing power surge through her body, and she knew she was healed. Moreover, there was a mysterious joy that accompanied the experience.
2 She came with fear and trembling before Him— She knew her Lord had come; She felt that from Him virtue had healed her, The mighty deed was done. But now a great fear and dread fell upon this dear woman. “How presumptuous I was to behave in such a manner, she thought.” But would she face the scorn of a mighty Savior for her deed? Anyone who truly knows the Lord Jesus Christ needs no answer to that question. There is no record in the Gospel of Jesus ever treating a seeking sinner in any manner other than with great compassion and love.
3 He turned with, “Daughter, be of good comfort, Thy faith hath made thee whole,” And peace which passeth all understanding With gladness filled her soul. The Lord knows the moment any reach out to Him in faith. He is never surprised for He knows our hurts and longings from before the Creation of the World. The woman’s faith had served His very purpose to show the multitudes, and Jairus, the power of faith in the right One. She was now a naturalized citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven and an adopted daughter of the Most High King. Her faith had not only healed her physical deformity, but saved her soul as well. Her faith had made her every whit WHOLE.
I’ve touched the hem of His garment, And now I, too, am free; His healing pow’r this very hour Gives life and health to me. Friends, there may be some among the readers who may feel the drawing to Christ of the Holy Ghost. You know of your complete powerlessness to save yourself. How close dare you come to Christ in seeking healing? Well, you need not search endlessly to touch the hem of His garment for He is right beside those whom He has called and chosen. He is on the Road to Emmaus with the two men and with you. He is in the Garden without the Tomb with you and with Mary Magdalene. He is with you and Hagar in the Wilderness. All you need do is reach out and touch Him. He is always at arm’s length. Reach out and hang on!