"Jesus said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'" - Mark 5.34
Lately it seems that a lot of sad things have happened to people I care about. One person is struggling financially, another is grieving a significant loss, another is having a lot of health challenges, another is experiencing strife in a relationship, and another is caring for an elderly loved one.
These are just a few of the people facing difficulties right now. Many of them don't know one another, and none of their issues are unique. A lot of people care for an elderly parent or struggle to regain their health or find that the pennies just aren't stretching quite far enough. What strikes me, in addition to the shear numbers of people with significant challenges, is that each of the people I have in mind are people of faith.
The people I'm thinking about are decent, kind, hard working people who are committed to their values and who are generous and who believe in Something. These are all people who are part of worshiping communities and who include study, meditation or prayer in their daily living.
Another thing that strikes me about these wonderful people is that most of them don't seem to be defeated by their sorrow. They seem to know that the sun will shine again. Difficulty now doesn't mean doom and defeat forever. They are somehow able to find hope or joy in spite of their difficulties and they seem to know that somehow, someday thing will improve. Isn't that amazing?
Faith doesn't keep life from happening with all of its ups and downs. But faith does seem to keep the down times from keeping us down. Faith may not make life easy, but it does seem to be able to make life worthwhile even when it isn't easy. Faith may not be a good luck charm, but it does seem to be the way people can feel blessed even in the face of misfortune. Faith may not be the quick fix, but it does seem to be the long term solution.
In the gospel story about a woman who was chronically hemorrhaging, we see that after a dozen years of visiting doctors she reached out to Jesus in desperation. The story tells us that she was finally cured and that Jesus said her faith was the agent of her healing. Of course, she didn't just summon faith that day. She had held on to faith for 12 years. Every time she visited a doctor, she had faith that her disease could be cured. Faith is why she didn't give up. And finally, after holding onto her faith for so long, things improved.
Faith saw the hemorrhaging woman through until her situation improved. That's the power of faith I think...not just the faith that seems to make things better in an instant, but also the faith that won't let us give up until that magic moment of resolution. The hemorrhaging woman had an instant healing that took twelve years to happen. Faith isn't the magic, its the determination to not give up until the magic finally happens.
(C)Durrell Watkins, 2007