*Scratches head*… I don’t know where to start from, because faith is a very inexhaustible and elaborate subject matter. It sprouts into several facets as far as the term “everything” is concerned. I’ve spent days and nights trying to unlock the proper tenses and words to use in the explanation and description of faith other than what is written in the Scriptures but to no avail. Nevertheless, the Will of God will never lead anyone to where His Grace won’t protect or sustain. For whatever the Lord ordains, He sustains. In other words, I will write as the Spirit guides and directs. I will follow, by His Grace, what is written in the scriptures; how it is defined and projected. I proceed. *sips pure water*
According to “The Hall of Faith,” i.e. Hebrews 11:1, faith is “…being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (NIV). In other words, faith says Amen to everything that God says. Faith takes God without any ifs. If God says it, faith says, I believe it; faith says Amen to it.
After reading Hebrews 11:1, my mind went directly to the woman with an issue of blood and applied the meaning of faith to the remarkable circumstances that led to her healing. Here’s how I see faith from her standpoint, “I am so sure of the healing I hope for and I am certain that as soon as I touch His garment, I will be healed.” What could have prompted this kind of strong faith? Nobody would have ordinarily decided to touch just a garment to be healed. You see, to learn strong faith is to endure great trials, “She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse.” (Mark 5:26).
The story of the woman with an issue of blood is found in the 5th chapter of Mark. It is also recorded in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke and is actually a story within a story.
Jesus had just cast out a legion of demons from a man. He travelled by boat to Capernaum, the village of Nahum and there He was met by a large crowd. “Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there, seeing Jesus, he fell at His feet and pleaded earnestly with Him, ‘My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.’” (Mark 5:22-23 NIV)
Of course, Jesus our compassionate friend agreed to follow him and the crowd followed. Imagine a scenario where fans push and crowd just to get close to celebrities in shows/concerts/events. Even reaching out as they pass just to touch them, perhaps hoping some of their “stardom” will rub off.
Imagine Jesus passing through a crowd of that great magnitude with His disciples; imagine the surprise on their faces when He turns around to ask them, “Who touched me?” I would hear some say today, “Are you serious, you are asking us that question, really, with all the people pushing and grabbing from all sides?”
Let us get to know a little about this woman without a name. Jesus called her “Daughter” in verse 34 of Mark chapter 5 anyway and that is more than enough. The Bible says she suffered for a very long time. Verse 25 of the same Mark 5 records that she has been haemorrhaging for twelve years. Some ladies can’t even bear the thought of seven days, but twelve years! She had seen many doctors and paid them all she had and still had no relief. Hmm!
Consider the physical effects of this kind of affliction. She was probably anaemic, she would have suffered severe fatigue, and she was possibly weak and frail. But for her, it went deeper than all these physical discomforts. According to Jewish law (Levi. 12:1-8; 15:19-30), the bleeding woman was unclean. Because they were unclean, they were prohibited from their regular fellowship with others and worship of God. According to the laws of ritual purity, she should not have even ventured out into the crowd.
Leviticus 15:25 lays emphasis on her condition. So this woman was considered “unclean.” And “unclean” she’s been for 12 long years, which means she would have been isolated from family and friends. The Bible says she spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
So for the will of God to be done, so that His name might be glorified, she heard about Jesus, the miracle worker and knew that if she could just touch the hem of His garment, she would be healed.
Verse 27 tells us that she believed all she needed to do was to touch Him and she would be healed, so she ventured into the crowd. As Jesus passed by, she reached out and touched the fringe of His robe. “Immediately the bleeding stopped and she could feel that she had been healed.” (Vs.27)
*Presses Pause button* But she stubborn o! Faith makes you stubborn, persistent and resilient. Do you remember the remarkable encounter between God’s angel and Jacob?? Jacob refused to surrender until he was blessed.
I know some of you are already tired of the long gist. Please endure the long gist and grab the message… Without knowledge we are lost, we perish. I love you too. *presses play button*
Notice that Jesus did not speak any words. She was not given any instructions to follow in order to receive healing. That act of faith – just to reach out and touch His garment – was enough to bring her complete healing. Because of Jesus’ response to her, we know that her act of faith brought the healing.
Jesus’ reaction was as immediate as was the healing. He knew that power had left Him and that someone had experienced a miracle. And turning to His disciples He asks, “Who touched me?” I guess that question was strange coming from a man who was being pressed at all sides. Jesus insisted with the question until she gave in. The Bible says in (Verse 33) that she came trembling probably because of fear of punishment for presenting her “unclean” self in the public. But Jesus’ response to her was gentle and loving. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” What an amazing story/gist! This story/gist has taught us both the importance of faith and the reward that follows when we exercise all faith.
There are other instances where Jesus says to the afflicted, “Your faith has healed you.”
- Matt. 9:28-30
- Matt. 15:27-28
- Mark 2:4-5
- Mark 10:51-52
Webster defines faith as: belief and trust in and loyalty to God. And we know what Hebrews 11:1 says about faith. How “confident” are we today? What “assurance” do we have in what we cannot see? God’s word says a lot about faith. It is full of example of men and women of faith. They were people who trusted in God, who believed in Him and in His purpose for their lives.
So how much faith does it take to experience God’s miracle in your own life? Matthew 17:20
Mustard seeds are very small. You can barely feel it. Its size has been compared to the point on the end of a pencil.
Jesus says we only need the smallest amount of faith to move mountains. Nothing will be impossible for us. (Mark 9:23; 10:27)
How do we obtain Mustard Seed Faith?
God gives us the measure of faith (Romans 12:3), Faith involves trusting. The woman in our story/gist trusted Jesus for healing. Jesus told her “Your faith has healed you.” Webster defines trust as: “Basic dependence on someone or something. Belief that something will happen or someone will act in a prescribed way.” Trust is found in our unswerving belief that the God of Heaven will indeed work on our behalf to bring His perfect will for our lives into being. It comes as a result of our faith, the stronger our faith, the more easily and quickly we trust. Every day we place our trust in something. We trust our cars to get us to our destination. We trust our network providers (MTN, airtel, Etisalat, glo, etc.) to get our calls through. We trust our doctors to heal our illnesses. So why is it so difficult to trust God? Trusting God means we believe in that which we cannot see and often-times may not understand. It means that we have to admit that we are not in control of our lives. Because we are human and our experience of trusting is with people and things that do fail us, we often find it hard to place our trust in God.
The first step in exercising your faith is to confess your reliance. The reality is that sometimes life is beyond us. Disasters strike and tragedies happen in our lives. As was with the woman in our story/gist, life can indeed be difficult and uncertain and there is much in life beyond our control and our understanding. We are left with raw emotions and tough questions. Answers are out of reach as we grapple with the question of why. In times like these, who do you trust? In whom do you place your faith? The Scriptures below tell us in whom we should place our trust. See Psalm 9:9-10 and Hebrews 10:21-23.
The next step in exercising our faith is to realize that God is bigger than life! Nothing, and I mean nothing, that we go through in life is beyond God. The truth is that we can and must rely on God in every situation in life. When life just doesn’t make any sense (by human standards) we need to trust in God. The more senseless life becomes the greater our need to trust. It is interesting to me that this woman believed that Jesus was able to do the impossible. She had been to doctor after doctor, exhausted all her resources, and been told there was no hope. Yet her faith in Jesus – believing just one touch of the hem of His garment would bring healing – was enough to accomplish a miracle!
What do the following Scriptures say about how big God is?
- Matthew 19:26
- Mark 10:27
Charles Colsen said, “True faith depends not upon mysterious signs, celestial fireworks, or grandiose dispensations from a God who is seen as a rich, benevolent uncle; true faith, as Job understood, rests on the assurance that GOD IS WHO HE IS.”
The woman in our story/gist must have known “true faith.” She rested in the assurance that “God is who He is!” Does that mean she wasn’t afraid? Does it mean she didn’t have reservations? Remember, she was not just dealing with an illness, but she was also living with the consequences of the diagnosis. She was not only sick, but she was “unclean.” Her very presence in “the midst of the crowd” was a huge risk. Had anyone recognized her she could have been immediately stoned to death. Yet she felt the risk was worth it, she believed she would receive healing if she could but touch the hem of His garment. She was a woman of courage. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of faith.” In fact, the only antidote to fear is faith.
Courage is not something we find within ourselves. It is the result of faith and even that is a gift of God.
(II Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV) When we feel weak, we can find God is our source of strength.
(Ezra 9:8, NIV) When we are pressured by life, God is our relief.
(Deuteronomy 33:27, NIV) When we need security, God is our refuge.
It is only when we completely trust God that He can give us the power of His direction and the power of His presence.
I Peter 4:19 (NLT) says… ”So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” Without trust in God there is no comfort, no peace, no strength and no relief. The full resources of God are at our disposal when we place our trust in Him. The key is to have faith!
In conclusion, I would like to leave you with these words from Ephesians 3:16-18 and Romans 15:13 (NLT), “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is… I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
So how is your faith today? Are there areas in your life you have not yet entrusted God with? Have you confessed your reliance on God and His provision? Do you believe with all your heart that God is bigger than anything life can bring you? With God, nothing is impossible! Just have a little faith (the size of a mustard seed)! Reach out and touch the hem of His garment and you can experience breakthrough today! *Drops mic*
PS: This post is dedicated to a friend: Ms. Idaraesit I.