It's been a few weeks since I was notified, but I am finally getting around to posting about this exciting honor. I have been selected as one of the top ten finalists for my short story, Healing Wings.
This contest was sponsored by Family Fiction, which is a monthly publication highlighting the best and latest in Christian Fiction. This contest was judged by some very well-known Christian authors, agents, and editors including the final judging done by Karen Kingsbury herself!
Just the thought of Karen Kingsbury reading something I wrote is pretty mind-blowing, and having the judges select my story as one of the top ten in this contest really has me in shock! Since my story was selected for this honor, I will be published (for the first time!) in a short story anthology to be released through Family Fiction. I'll post details about the release of the anthology as soon as I hear more.
I was inspired to write this story by a sermon I heard a long time ago which explained that the words "the hem of a garment" (Greek: kraspedon Strongs-2899), refers to the fringe or tassle of a prayer shawl or tallit.
Since Jesus was a Torah-abiding Jew and obeyed God's laws in all respects (see Numbers 15:38), he would have worn a tallit, complete with tzitziyot--which are the blue and white fringed tassles at the corners of the fabric. The tzitziyot are knotted threads to remind the wearer of the commands of Yahweh and are worn by Torah-observant Jews at all times.
The woman who bled for twelve years would have been considered unclean for as long, due to Levitical laws regarding the issue of blood (see Lev. 15:25). She would have been an outcast in society and hurting both physically and emotionally.
Her actions that day, as Jesus walked toward the house of Jairus, whose daughter lay dying, show that she must have been aware of the prophecy given in Malachi 4:2 "But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture."
The word for wings in that verse is kanaph (Strongs 3671) which refers to a bird's wing, but also the edges of a garment. The woman knew that if indeed Jesus were the Messiah, just touching the edges of his garment, or the tassles of his tallit would bring her healing and therefore freedom. What faith!! No wonder Jesus said "your faith has made you well". She was clinging to the promise in Malachi that the true Messiah would be so full of power that even the hem of his garment would heal.
You can see why this passage strummed the chords of my imagination. Every one of us has felt an outcast at some point in our lives. Many have faced illness, heartbreak, and defeat, sometimes for years. But Jesus, our Messiah, is the great healer.
Whether our healing comes in this world or the next, he promises freedom and joy for those who walk in faith and obedience, even in the valley of the shadow of death. All we have to do is reach out in faith, knowing that freedom is only found in Jesus!