Pain clenched my shoulder. Pausing only for an instant on the strong fingers digging
into my flesh, my startled eyes flew up to meet my master’s gaze. Instead they
encountered a disfiguring snarl that was twisting itself across his visage. Paralyzed with
fear and pain, I hung like a rag beneath his hand as his expressions slashed wordless
scars across my soul. His arm shoved me forward. I stumbled, clawed the air for
balance, and dashed in the direction of his pointing finger. As I felt the soft dirt of the
garden replaced by the solid road, I deduced my master’s wish – fresh fish from the
market. Speed was essential if I expected to taste a morsel of supper myself.
I increased the rate at which I felt the sharp impact of my sandals colliding with
the road and focused on forcing the evening air to appease my desperate lungs.
Up ahead the ancient olive tree reached out with an offer of rest. From the depths of
my being I longed to throw myself at its base and trace with my fingertips the wordless
stories etched into its gnarled trunk. Lines! They possessed a language of their own –
a language I could understand. Although the friendly grooves of the olive tree invited
me, the twisted lines of my master’s face drove me onward.
The village lay just ahead. Impatiently, I pressed forward through the crowd
assembled near the water’s edge. Only a rare catch attracted a multitude of this size. I
pushed my way between two women and staggered forward when their resistance
suddenly gave way. I felt myself falling – could almost feel the Galilean sand brushing
Unexpectedly, a hand gripped my shoulder, and I sensed the same hand gently
restoring my equilibrium. Pausing only for an instant on the strong fingers that now
barely rested on my shoulder, my startled eyes flew up to meet the Master’s gaze. The
lines of His face spoke like no other lines had ever spoken to me in my entire existence.
They spoke of a love I had never before experienced and reached out to heal the scars
on my heart. Ignoring the twisting lines on faces around me, I stood with my eyes
transfixed on the One who was conversing with my soul. His face told me He knew my
need and could end my wordless existence. My soul answered in belief. I saw and felt
His hand reach out to touch my ears and tongue. In that instant sound bombarded my
silent world and language rushed to fill the wordless void. I opened my lips
to communicate my gratitude through the eloquent words that were flooding my soul,
but as my eyes met His I could only whisper, “Thank, you, Lord.” I read the wordless
lines of His smile as His reply resounded in both my ears and my heart, “Go in peace.
Thy faith hath made thee whole.”
Note: The words used as Christ’s response to this fictitious individual are the same that He used in response to another woman in Matthew 9:22. Although this woman was suffering from a different affliction, she was also healed without audibly verbalizing her request.
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