August 19, 2016
Is Faith Something We Believe? Or Something We Do?
“She thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’” Mark 5:28 (NIV)
Many of us struggle with health concerns, money woes or family traumas and wonder why God hasn’t answered our prayers. Do I need more patience? More courage? More faith?
We’ll find the answer in Capernaum, a fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. A place of miracles and healings. A sacred place.
As soon as Jesus arrived that day, a large crowd gathered, including a certain woman. No name. No age. We only know she came a long way to see Jesus — 30 miles, some scholars say. A challenging walk for someone who was unwell because she’d been “bleeding for twelve years” (Mark 5:25b, NIV).
Every woman’s nightmare. An endless flow of blood. Not one week a month, but every week of every month for 12 long years. Imagine the pain, the shame, the hygiene issues, the anemia, the exhaustion.
Desperate for relief, she spent all she had in seeking medical help, but “instead of getting better she grew worse” (Mark 5:26b, NIV). Not only was her body bleeding, her bank account was bled dry as well. Have you been there, friend? At the end of your rope?
Here’s the good news: Faith was all this woman had left. And faith was all she needed.
In God’s perfect timing “When she heard about Jesus” (Mark 5:27a, NIV) she made tracks for Capernaum. Our bleeding woman, who wasn’t supposed to touch anyone, “came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak” (Mark 5:27b, NIV).
Today’s verse reveals the depth of her faith: “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed” (Mark 5:28b). She believed. She trusted. And so she turned her faith into action. Truth is, she’d done so miles ago when she left the safety of her home and started out for Jesus Town. It was a walk of faith on the outside and a leap of faith on the inside.
Too often we base our faith on how we feel. A better measure is what we do, since “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17b, NIV).
When we put feet to our faith, believing we’ll find an answer, that’s when miracles happen. “Immediately her bleeding stopped” (Mark 5:29a, NIV). She didn’t simply feel better. She was utterly “freed from her suffering” (Mark 5:29b, NIV). No more blood, no more pain, no more shame.
She’s not the only one who noticed. “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him” (Mark 5:30a, NIV). Zap! When He “turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’” (Mark 5:30b, NIV), this woman’s stomach had to be tied in a knot, especially when He “kept looking around to see who had done it” (Mark 5:32, NIV).
She could have avoided His gaze, crawled away, kept her healing to herself. But those are cowardly acts, and faith requires a measure of courage. She’d walked many miles. She’d stretched out her hand. This was her third act of faith: she “fell at his feet” (Mark 5:33b, NIV).
So brave, so honest, so open! Then she spoke to Him — another step of faith — and despite trembling with fear, she “told him the whole truth” (Mark 5:33c, NIV), holding nothing back.
Jesus responded by calling her “Daughter” (Mark 5:34b, NIV). Of all people! This ostracized, unclean, don’t-get-anywhere-near-her woman. His tender endearment assured the crowd, “She’s family. She belongs to Me.”
Then He told her, “Your faith has healed you” (Mark 5:34c, NIV). Her faith? How is that possible? Because the healing power of Jesus passed through His garment to meet her outstretched hand. Even before her fingers brushed against the threads, she was already healed because she dared to believe.
The Lord is calling us to do the same. God calls us to demonstrate our faith by doing something brave and bold. To act on our belief in Jesus by reaching beyond our comfort zone, knowing He is ready and waiting with healing in His wings.
Heavenly Father, remind me that I am Your daughter and can call on Your power to help, to heal, to save. Give me the courage to take risks and the faith to believe You are with me and for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
>Ephesians 3:12, “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (NIV)
>Luke 1:45, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (NIV)
You'll find more encouragement from the stories of women in Scripture in Liz Curtis Higgs’ newly updated bestseller, Really Bad Girls of the Bible.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
It’s right and good to pray for more faith. God also wants us to act on our faith. To knock on a closed door, to respond kindly to an enemy, to ask for the impossible, believing all things are possible with God.
What leap of faith is God asking you to take right now?
© 2016 by Liz Curtis Higgs. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 19 August 2016.