- by Barbara Edtl Shelton
The Hem of His Garment
I was desperate, in agony, and at the end of my strength during a crisis in my marriage. Crisis is actually putting it too mildly. Dave and I were separated at the time, and I was gutted, as emotionally leveled as if a typhoon had hit my home, with me now lying on my bed on this particular afternoon with no strength left in me to even get myself comfortable on the bed.
I had read scripture verses about a "day of dark clouds" and "deep waters," and now felt like those dark clouds were consuming me, and the deep waters overwhelming me.
Taking a picture of the view out my bedroom window was the furthest thing from my mind that day, so I found one that exudes what that darkness felt like to me that day. The moment I saw this picture, it resonated with me...
We actually live in a beautiful, lush woods, but the above picture captures how the scene felt to me that day. Devastation. Darkness. Depression.
As I laid there on my bed, the woman in the Bible who’d had the issue of blood came to mind. She had been so desperate for Jesus to heal her that, unable to get His attention in the usual manner because of the huge crowd surrounding Jesus, she had grabbed for the hem of His garment down on the ground.
And she was immediately healed. Jesus even felt the power go out from Him, and asked “Who touched the hem of my garment?” Those around Him chided Him saying “Lord, there are many around You in this crowd, and you ask ‘Who touched me?’"
But just that one touch had such healing power that He felt it go out, and He wanted to know who had been the recipient.
And the woman who’d been the recipient of that precious power had been pretty desperate. To head to the ground and lunge for Jesus’ hem, down on the dirt, amidst a crowd of people and many scuffling ~ even trampling ~ dirty feet, there had to have been a whole lot of pain and anguish coupled with a desperate need to be healed that motivated her down to that place.
And I completely identified with how she felt.
Except I wasn’t in a crowd of people with Jesus anywhere nearby right now. I was just alone in my room, languishing on my bed.
To give you some context, this was back 23+ years ago when Dave and I were separated. He'd had an affair, that I had just recently discovered, although I was not very pleasant to live with, so neither of us was in a good place.
It was an extremely difficult time, especially for me. (He had his lady friend, so it wasn’t as emotionally difficult for him, though he didn’t like what his choices were doing to the kids.) I was floundering and confused, and in extremely deep pain.
As I laid there, miserable, I became aware that I wasn’t alone in my room.
I sensed the Lord telling me that, just as that woman had touched the hem of His garment and was healed, so He wanted to heal and refresh me, right now, in the midst of my deep pain.
I instinctively knew that all I needed to do was touch the hem of His garment.
But, I had NO strength, so I weakly and painfully moaned to Him, "Loooord, I CAN'T!!! I don't even have enough strength to even lift up my hand and reach out to you!"
Continuing to lay there, I became aware that He was approaching me.
I just continued to lie there, curled up on my right side, with the right side of my face buried in my tear-dampened pillow.
I felt His feet approach me, close to where my head was resting on my pillow. (My head was at the foot of my bed, which put His feet in the air, off the end of my bed.)
He stopped, and the base of His robe swung gently back and forth, as it would when someone wearing a robe had been walking (toward me), and then stopped. It gently brushed over the side of my face...
...eventually coming to a stop right above my cheek.
I didn't see Him; only the hem of the very bottom of His robe, which was now so close that I was aware of the weave of the cloth.
It was surreal, yet very "supernaturally natural" feeling as well. Not at all scary. Almost like a person trapped in a car wreck ~ who had slipped into shock ~ would feel when a rescue worker carefully and gently entered the car to pull them out.
I was in at least as much pain as that emotionally, and I sensed I was being rescued. In my spirit, I felt Jesus say...
"I know how weak you are feeling, my daughter, but I have heard the cry of your heart, and that is why I'm bringing the hem of my garment to you. In fact, it’s right here, so you don't even have to reach out for it; I know you're too weak right now, so just let Me touch you with the healing hem of my robe."
And so it was that, in one of the darkest moments of my life, He came to me with His healing power and His sweet love, which permeated my entire being and brought me tremendous comfort and eventually healing.
I don't want to mislead; this was not an immediate healing or overnight change, like the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of Jesus's garment and was healed immediately.
Rather this was part of an ongoing process that continued for many years. But having His presence in me more deeply, and having felt His touch, made it all so different.
The "fiery trial" ~ aka "hell" that I was going through was awful!!! And the emotional intensity of that season was depicted quite accurately in this photo!
Many times I would literally feel like the air was sucked out of my lungs, making it hard to even breathe.
But the heaviness and pain became much more bearable because Jesus was with me. He was doing His loving work in me, and carrying the load for me.
That is what He meant when He said: "Come to Me all you who are weary and overburdened, and I will give you rest."
We'll still go through hard stuff, but it makes all the difference in the world when He's in the "furnace of our fiery afflictions" with us, just like Shadrak, Meshak, and Abednigo experienced, quite literally!
He said it to me then ~ to come to Him when I'm weary and overburdened, and He will give me rest. He has said it to me many times since, in many other difficult and painful situations I've been in...
And He says it to you right now, no matter what kind of "heavy burden" you are carrying, no matter how hopeless it may seem.
I will come back to that in a moment, but I don't want to leave you hanging about our marriage...
Long story short: God has TOTALLY redeemed our marriage!!!!!
He is in the business of handling the most difficult, (seemingly) hopeless, complicated, desperate, awful things of life. I will share the story another time here at my blog. But if you can't wait, Dave and I co-shared Our Story at a convention many years ago. (It all happened starting back in 1992.)
Dave and I are living proof that God can do wonderful, amazing, and seemingly impossible things when given the chance.
At that time, only one of us ~ me ~ was willing to do this, but God used it anyway. However, I have to say that, even in his rebellion, Dave was more teachable than I was.
We went through lots of hard stuff, and many hard years of recovering, rebuilding, and re-bonding (in a whole new way), but we are both SO thankful we let God have His way!!!
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago... Dave's serving me some of his Dave-made smoked cheese and smoked sausage. Yes, HE fixed it up on this plate with the toothpicks! And then served it to me in my chair!
At which point I yelled, "WAIT!!!! HOLD THAT POSE!!! Let me get a picture of this!!!"
And here are the two of us ready to head out on a walk: (full story here!)
I know that was a bit off-track from the title of this article, but not really ~ as I couldn't just leave you hanging with the heavy information I'd given you in the story. In fact, it actually tells you "the rest of the story" of what happened after "the hem" incident.
(Quick disclaimer: I'm not saying that all marriages are healable or will end up as ours did. I'm just sharing what God did in ours.)
Let's go back and do some business with that verse I shared: "Come to Me all you who are weary and overburdened, and I will give you rest."
Now I want you to bring to your mind one dark, hard, awful thing that is heavy on your heart right now. It doesn't matter how hopeless it seems. Seriously, it doesn't matter at all. God is in the business of redeeming really hard stuff.
Have your situation in mind?
All right, I want you to read this verse again, but this time take your burden to God, and let Him take the heaviness and hopelessness of your situation, and especially your heart regarding that situation. Let Him give you rest, and let that restful peace seep waaaaay down to where your pain is the worst...
"Come to Me, all
you who are weary
and overburdened, and
I will give you rest."
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