Never Out of Reach

Cari Arias uses examples from the Bible to remind us why we must reach out to Jesus during times of suffering. By Cari Arias

Twelve years. What has taken place in your life over the past 12 years? One of Adam’s sons, Seth, lived for 12 years (well… plus 900). Twelve years is the typical amount of time American kids are required to go to school in order to get a high school diploma. Brad Pitt was married to Angelina Jolie for 12 years. And Sirius Black waited 12 years in Azkaban. Twelve years is a long time. And 12 years is exactly how long one woman had a terrible condition that kept her in suffering solitude.


In Luke 8, we read about a woman who “had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure” (v. 43). There’s no need to go into all of the ugly details about what this bleeding likely was, but suffice it to say, it wasn’t fun. In fact, such bleeding would have made her considered ceremonially unclean according to the Torah—the Law (Leviticus 15:19-33). The devout Jews, who wanted to follow God’s law, would not be able to touch anything ceremonially unclean without becoming unclean themselves. This means she didn’t simply suffer physically, but also socially. She was a woman experiencing deep pain and suffering… for 12 long years.

This woman was likely sentenced to life away from people. She must have heard that Jesus was in town. News about His miracles and teachings would have undoubtedly been the talk of every neighborhood by that time. She should not have left her solitary confinement and risked touching anyone, let alone a rabbi—a Jewish teacher!

And yet… she did. She took the risk of joining the crowd—a crowd where she would easily have been pushed and had to push her way through people to get to Jesus. If anyone had recognized her, they would probably have shouted, “Unclean!” And then they would all stare. Having a crowd of people stare at you and want you gone—not just from their sight, but off the planet—is not exactly what anyone wants to experience, ever.


But this woman took the risk, hoping to go unnoticed in the crowd. She made it close enough to Jesus to touch His robe, aware that He would likely never touch her if He only knew about her condition. Miraculously, the moment she touched Him, she was healed. “Immediately, the bleeding stopped” (Luke 8:44b). 

Jesus knew what happened. After all, He’s God. Yet He asked, “Who touched Me?” (v. 45). This woman had hoped to come and go unnoticed by the crowds. She entered in pain and suffering, and hoped to leave in peace and healing. What she didn’t know is that a simple change in circumstances does not bring about true peace. Only a relationship with the Messiah can do that.

She owned up to her secret act and confessed. However, she wasn’t able to just whisper her confession in Jesus’ ear. The “whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched Him and that she had been immediately healed” (v. 47b). Oh, the staring that probably took place! All eyes were on her… probably looking from her to Jesus and back to her. What presumption this woman had to touch the rabbi!

Did Jesus scold her? Quite the opposite. He drew her into relationship with a powerful word: daughter. “‘Daughter,’ He said to her, ‘your faith has made you well. Go in peace’” (v. 48). Now true peace was possible! Only relationship with the Messiah can bring real peace in pain and suffering.


I don’t believe Luke includes this account in his Gospel to only teach us that if we reach out to Jesus all of our pain and suffering will be gone. God’s Word tells us time and time again that we willgo through suffering (Psalm 34:19; Matthew 10:38-39; Matthew 8:19-20; Philippians 1:29; 3:10; 1 Peter 2:21; 5:10). Since God’s Word never contradicts itself, there must be more that Luke intends for us to learn from this woman. The lesson is that God never wastes suffering.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul gives a promise that is very often used out of context: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). In suffering, you might cry, “This doesn’t feelgood!” And you’re right! But when you are in the hands of God, suffering is purposeful and limited. Suffering definitely does not feel good (or else it would be called pleasure). However, feelings do not determine purpose. God is working it all out for our good. 

So what is that “good” He has in mind for us? Paul tells us in the very next verse—God chose us “to become like His Son” (v. 29). He goes on to explain that His Son, Jesus, is in right standing with Him. Because of Jesus, we, too, can be in right standing with God through belief in, and acceptance of, His death on the cross for our sins and His resurrection. 


Stop for just a moment and think about that suffering. The cross. Nails pounded into flesh, muscle, and bone. Suffocating slowly, only able to breathe deeply by pushing against the nail that is tearing at His feet in order to straighten up enough to open His ribcage. Add on the emotional suffering of being mocked and laughed at. But the spiritual suffering? That was the worst part.

Jesus had gone through many trials during His incarnate time on Earth. But He remained faithful to the Father through every bit of it. Tempted by the enemy? He responded with Scripture. Laughed at in His hometown? He continued on elsewhere with His message. Arrested and asked to speak of His innocence? He spoke of the Father’s will. 

Before going to the cross, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He talked with His Father. He knew the extreme pain and suffering that was coming and asked for it to be avoided if there was any way. But there wasn’t. So He faithfully obeyed. Could any of us say we would willinglywalk into suffering if God is going before us?

In order to take on our sin, Jesus became “the offering for our sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Oursin caused Him to experience a pain so deep that He cried out, “Why have You abandoned Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus took on our sin, willingly suffering the worst pain of all.

Jesus did all of this for us. He did it so we could be in right standing with the Father. He did it so we could become like Him. He did it so that, if we love God, all things will be worked together for our good. And we are told that we get to share in His glory—in His magnificence, beauty, splendor, bliss, and eternal praise. If that’snot good, what is?!


Paul reminds us that we can actually rejoice in our suffering and pain, “for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (Romans 5:3-4). Jesus had the woman who touched His robe confess what her struggle was. It wasn’t for His sake of learning the answer. It was for her sake, as an opportunity to confess Jesus as the Savior and to glorify God. She had endured 12 long years of suffering; now, her character was being transformed by the Redeemer. What follows is what we all cling to—hope.

Our hope is secure when it is tethered to a relationship with Jesus, the Messiah. We are promised in His Word that our pain is purposeful and will never be wasted—it is shaping us to look more like Him. We are also promised that our suffering is limited. Even if it lasts for 12 years… or an entire lifetime… in the scope of eternity, it is limited by this life. Suffering will not last forever. 

In his book, The Weight of Glory,C. S. Lewis wrote, “All the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that someday it will not be so.” God’s Word tells us there will be an end to suffering—either when Jesus returns or calls us home. In the meantime, we hold on to Him, reaching out for healing, knowing that relationship with the Messiah is our true peace, and knowing that we have a secure hope as we go through the process of being formed to look more and more like Him.


Right before Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the sweltering furnace, they boldly declared to King Nebuchadnezzar: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us… But even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).

As believers, we can declare that whether life throws us in the fire or not, we will not lose our hope in God, for He will never abandon us.

Take time to be with God. Communicate to Him the difficulties you are facing. Allow the lyrics of Natalie Grant and Hillary Scott’s songs to inspire your prayer time.


I know if You wanted to You could wave Your hand
Spare me this heartache and change Your plan
And I know any second You could take my pain away
But even if You don’t I pray

Help me want the Healer more than the healing
Help me want the Savior more than the saving
Help me want the Giver more than the giving
Help me want you, Jesus, more than anything

Listen to the full song at: 


I’m so confused; I know I heard You loud and clear
So, I’ll follow through; Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of Your plan
When I try to pray, all I got is hurt
And these four words:

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

Listen to the full song at: 

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