What if the Bleeding Returns?

David Bouchard is a photographer, writer, teacher, apologist, husband, father, and friend. I’m honored to share his beautiful words about the woman some call Veronica – the woman who was given the precious gift of healing and courage from Jesus. His story of her persistence makes me fall in love even more deeply in love with her – and my Lord. I pray David encourages you and shines light on hope.


A woman who had suffered from severe bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of His cloak. She said to herself, “If only I touch His cloak, I will get well.”

Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, my daughter! Your faith has made you well.” At that very moment the woman became well. (Matthew 9:20-22)

I met Veronica last week. I first ran into her years ago in Matthew’s familiar narrative, but I didn’t take the time to get to know her until her story unfolded here.

When her story was shared in the TinyLetter and then again on the blog, I encountered her again for the first time. She was a woman I had walked past without really seeing her. Not deeply. At best I would quickly make eye contact and greet her with a friendly “good morning” as I hurried by. Although I thought I knew her, I didn’t. I was content to stroll by with a comfortable but shallow familiarity. Suddenly, as Ronne shared about Veronica wiping Christ’s bloodied brow with her veil, I found myself with her. I watched this courageous woman push through the crowd to encourage her battered Savior. That moment captures the depth of her freedom and transformation. No matter the cost, she was determined to give back to the one who gave her new life. In spite of the jeering crowds, she pushed through to touch Him as He had touched her. She wanted Him to know He was seen. He mattered. He was loved.

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Processed with Snapseed.

This selfless act of courageous gratitude has strengthened thousands of weary believers. It is a beautiful story.

But the best stories reveal more stories. So I sent Ronne a message.

“What if Veronica’s bleeding returned?”

How would she respond to that? Even if it didn’t return, she still experienced the aches and pains of aging. Her heart tore as loved ones were lost. Did she courageously reach to the Savior in faith, or did she hang her head in defeat?

I can visualize her painfully caressing the arthritic hand that once so boldly offered her veil to the Savior. Where does her mind go when she remembers that day? How does she reconcile her current affliction with the promise of the Savior…”your faith has made you well?”

It was a simple question originating from the dark depths of my own journey. Like Veronica, I had a divine encounter with Jesus. He looked me in the face and said, “you are healed.” And I was. For a little bit. Some days I find myself once again in the darkness, experiencing the bottomless depths of depression and chronic pain. The affliction revisits, leaving doubt about my encounter. Did I hear Him right? Did He mean it was just for a year or two and then the curse would return? Is my destiny for this disease consume me completely?

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The story of the woman brave enough to reach from the depths of dishonor toward the robe of the Holy One resonates with us. We think that maybe if we muster up the courage to take a risk of faith…trusting Him with all we have…surely we, too, can be whole again. Like Veronica, we long for our pain and shame to be transformed into a miraculous testament to the power of God. Perhaps, like me, your prayer has been “Please, God, display your power and glory through me…make me healed and whole.” But are we praying God’s will? What does He truly want for us more right now…physical and material comfort or nearness to Him? What brings Him more glory, our physical wholeness or clinging to faith within our suffering? What truly refines us, comfort or hardship?

Ronne responded, “Healing comes. Pieces of it stay… maybe Veronica’s real healing came not in the hand on the hem but in the months and years that followed when the hand took the plow in a world that was still bleeding.” Yes. This. So much. Veronica now sees this world for what it is: fallen…but temporary. Instead of seeing herself as unclean in a world of righteous people, her perspective shifts. She no longer sees the world through her veil. Everyone is experiencing turmoil. She thought she was cursed, now she knows it is this world that is cursed and we’re all just passing through. Our suffering reminds us of the healing that is to come in the world that awaits. For now, we courageously persevere, clinging to the glimpse and promise of a Savior.

Processed with Snapseed.
Processed with Snapseed.

But what about that blood-stained veil? Remember…when Moses left God’s presence, his face was radiant. He wore a veil to keep from causing a scene. The people weren’t ready to  experience the fullness of God. Jesus removes that veil, once and for all. Paul tells us that “whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” (2 Cor 3:16 GW) Veronica turned toward Christ and removed her veil. Once she knew and trusted Him, she had no need to hide ever again. Her face reflected Christ’s glory, and she allowed that light to boldly shine in spite of any circumstances she encountered. Even if the bleeding returned.  Paul goes on to say “where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into His image with ever-increasing glory.” She walked in freedom, using her experience and perspective to bring life to others.

When Veronica removed her veil, she offered it to the Lord. Perhaps she kept it as a sacred treasure. Perhaps it was carried away and lost. Like her, we can offer our pain and shame to Him and have it removed forever. Veronica teaches us not how to muster up the faith for healing, but to cling our trust in the Savior. Encountering Jesus isn’t just a frantic moment in the middle of a crowd, but for eternity. He is with us In the quiet stillness and every valley and mountaintop of our life’s journey.

After crucifixion, did she encounter the resurrected Savior? The stories don’t say. It doesn’t matter. She didn’t need to. One encounter…one Spirit-giving touch from the Creator can sustain for the rest of our earthly days. When her hand ached, her heart turned to Him. When her heart grieved, she remembered her Savior. Those signs of aging so many of us fret about are merely a reminder of the upcoming reunion.

Yes, let this body age and fall apart. Yes, I will keep my hand on the plow for as long as you have me here, but each moment will be filled with a longing to be with you again. The anticipation of that reunion will sustain me through this temporary pain, darkness, grief, and affliction.

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Like Veronica, encountering Jesus changes us. Our perspective shifts. Shame falls away and freedom if gained. In our freedom, we can live with gratitude no matter the outcome. I imagine Veronica spent the rest of her days bringing hope to the hopeless and love to the outcasts…introducing society’s forgotten ones to the Savior, keeping her hand on the plow as she patiently yearned for that glorious moment when she would see Him face to face again. And forever more.


I would love to know your story of courage, of faith, of change, of persistence. Would you share it with me here?

This entry was posted in Community, Faith, Musings and Thoughts, Scripture and tagged , , , , , by Ronne Rock. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ronne Rock

Ronne Rock’s heart finds its strongest beat where beauty and pain collide – because hope always finds us in the shattered places. There’s more than 30 years of marketing and communications experience in her bones, and she finds great joy in sharing leadership wisdom as a regular contributor to Orange Leaders and QARA. But more often than not these days, she's with the vulnerable in difficult places around the world, gathering stories that change stories. Find Ronne's words in "For You, Love" the prayer journal that invites you to respond, and in Everbloom, a collection of stories from the Redbud Writers Guild. She is currently writing, "Building Eden: Principles of a Grace-Filled Leadership that Restores and Redeems." 

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4 thoughts on “What if the Bleeding Returns?”

  1. THANK YOU. I have tears. I have never heard someone tell my story before – a story of severe illness, then definite no-doubt-about-it miraculous healing, only for the same illness to return years later, wreaking major havoc in my life and family. The illness continues now, as does the feeling of shame.

    I don’t understand the why’s and why nots of it all, but I DO know that God is with me through it all. And “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26. I know that – while I do everything I can to maximise my health and be a good steward of my body – health cannot be my primary goal, and it can’t be allowed to become an idol. I have to learn to see God, and joy, and beauty, and value in life, *whatever* my circumstances. I’ve learnt a lot; I have a lot still to learn.

    Thank you SO MUCH for your post. I suspect I will return to it many times to fully digest it.

  2. David,
    When you propose the question “What if the bleeding returns?” You speak on behalf of every reality of fear and doubt inside us all. You dare to ask a brave and hard question……and in doing so, you indeed uncover a truth that is both glorious and frightening. The Lord tells us “in this life you will have trouble” I am fascinated with the picture you capture, with the unveiling of such empowerment by the rawness of a truth I pray every reader can fully grasp including myself. You want my story of change…well you are witnessing it unfold in my words here today. You have taught me not to take my afflictions and hardships so personally, but instead to realize the world is an equal opportunity employer of trouble. You have taught me to not feel sorry for myself or feel as if I am in some way being punished and that God doesn’t care about me or love me. David…the best photographers on planet earth can take a shot at a small thing and develop it into a photo that reveals a much bigger picture. This is what you have done with no camera in your hand. What a gift of imagery you offer the world.
    Words are pictures. Photography,
    writing, and teaching..perform together inside of you, creating an ability that I pray God will continue to develop from the negative in me……When Im in the dark room….I am near to God, emerging from nothing into something. You have refreshed my soul with hope! You have saturated and increased the brightness of how I see God!!! You have redirected my attention to the bigger picture. This pain is temporary, Gods will is for me to be near to him…whatever it takes…..the true healing is found in the soul…not in the flesh….healing of the flesh is a bonus feature not the main attraction. One day I will never feel pain!!!
    Hope is the best dope!
    Thank you David!!!!!

  3. Rachel, thank you so much. I believe God’s deepest desire is that we learn to lean on Him and draw near to Him. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that if I had perfect health and endless wealth, I would likely forget all about Him. Instead, He works through my trials and my pain to deepen that connection with Him. Yes, we are to be good stewards of our bodies, but ultimately this body will give out no matter what we do. The state of our soul and the position of our heart is of eternal importance. Thank you again for your comment and kind words!

  4. Holly, your words bring life. Thank you for listening and thank you for reading. The way you have fearlessly and persistently and boldly pressed into your faith has been incredible. Most people seem content to cling to empty rituals, but not you. You have done a deep dive and found yourself in an ocean of grace. That’s a beautiful place to be, sister! I find it hard to express how deeply I appreciate you and how much joy it has been to be a small part of your spiritual journey. God has big plans for you, sister. Keep moving out into those deep waters. That’s where the good stuff is.

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