Today, I’m honoured to introduce you to my friend Dr. Michelle Bengtson.
She is a hope concierge! Whether as a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, host of the award-winning podcast Your Hope Filled Perspective, or the author of several award-winning books including Hope Prevails and Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, her passion is to share hope and encouragement with others. Her newest release is The Hem of His Garment: Reaching Out to God When Pain Overwhelms. She loves all things teal, spending time with friends and family, taking long walks, or sitting by quiet shores, and it’s a bonus when any of those are accompanied by sea salt caramel chocolate! You can find her and her hope-filled resources at https://drmichellebengtson.com
Welcome Dr. Bengtson with me, please. I know her words will encourage you today.
Pain. It’s inevitable. We all go through it. Jesus warned us “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). Trouble, pain, and suffering are certain in this life, but we don’t have to camp out there.
We’re all familiar with physical pain—the sprained ankle, broken arm, sunburn, or toothache. But no discussion about pain would be complete if we didn’t also acknowledge other forms of pain: emotional pain, relationship pain, financial pain, spiritual pain, secondary pain caused by the words or actions of others that make us feel worse when enduring the other types of pain, as well as grief and loss.
I’ve experienced all those types of pain, and I wonder if you think back over your life if you, too, recognize your own walk through those different types of pain. There is a woman in Scripture whose story I resonate with deeply because she too experienced every one of those types of pain.
The woman with the issue of blood offers great encouragement to those in pain. (Luke 8:43-48) She experienced physical pain of having an illness that lasted twelve years. She also experienced financial pain because she had spent all her money on doctors and likely couldn’t work in her physical condition. She likely endured emotional pain from the years of rejection and ridicule such a disorder promoted in those times. She may have experienced relational pain resulting from others choosing to not associate with an unclean woman, likely leaving her single or divorced. Perhaps she experienced spiritual pain as a byproduct of knowing God could heal but for whatever reason hadn’t. She quite possibly experienced grief not just from lost relationships and lost opportunity to provide for herself financially, but also loss of hopes and dreams for her future.
This woman suffered for over twelve years, and yet she maintained her faith and put it into action. In studying the woman’s story, I contemplated what else Jesus offered her in that momentary exchange. She longed for physical healing, and Jesus offered her comprehensive healing for her body, heart, mind, and soul.
In that moment, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.” (Luke 8:47-48 NIV) Jesus not only healed her physically, but he saw her, he validated her and her worth when he called her daughter, he offered her a future and a hope when he told her to go in peace, and he gave her a testimony, none of which would she have experienced in the absence of pain and suffering.
Perhaps in our longing for healing of our pain, God is beckoning us to exercise our faith, to come to him and touch the hem of his garment. Perhaps he has something more waiting for us than we could ever ask or imagine.
In her weakened, frail condition, the woman with the issue of blood pushed through the crowd determined to touch Jesus’s hem. She could get no lower, nor any further from making eye contact with the Master. The defining moment in this woman’s life occurred when, lacking in her own strength, she reached out for Jesus’s hem in faith, and his strength went out from him, into her, healing her of the pain that plagued her for over a decade. Perhaps instead of viewing our dependence on God in a negative light, we can see it as the avenue he uses to draw us to himself.
May I pray for you?
Father, I lift up this dear one to you. You know the pain they suffer. And you know how to meet every need in your perfect way and your perfect time. Just like the woman with the issue of blood, help them continue to reach out to you in faith, while they wait for their healing. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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