Courage, my daughter! Your faith has made you well.
[While Jesus is on his way to see a Jewish official’s dead daughter, a woman who has suffered from severe bleeding for twelve years comes up behind Jesus and touches the edge of his cloak. She said to herself that if only she could touch his garment she would bet well. As soon as she touches his cloak, Jesus says these words and she is instantly healed.]
Jesus says the woman’s faith has made her well. So what is faith? The Greek word pistis means “belief, trust, confidence,” so it’s pretty much the same as the English meaning of the word. The next question in my mind is – faith in what? Faith in God? Faith in Jesus? Or faith in healing itself? What kind of faith made her well?
Apparently she had faith that she could be healed or she wouldn’t have tried to get close to Jesus. However her faith that she could be healed was not enough to make it happen. I think Jesus boosted her faith that she could be healed, even after twelve years of illness. She needed Jesus to help, to tell her that she was healed, to affirm that it was possible. Her belief that she could indeed be healed, in conjunction with her belief in Jesus’ power to heal, is what made her well. He didn’t say that it’s his power that made her well; he said it was her faith. But it still took both of them to make it happen.
Today this is known as “Faith Healing.” Here is some information on faith healing from Wikipedia:
Faith healing is healing purportedly through spiritual means. Believers assert that the healing of a person can be brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or rituals that, according to adherents, stimulate a divine presence and power toward correcting disease and disability. Belief in divine intervention in illness or healing is related to religious belief. In common usage, faith healing refers to notably overt and ritualistic practices of communal prayer and gestures (such as laying on of hands) that are claimed to solicit divine intervention in initiating spiritual and literal healing.
Claims that prayer, divine intervention, or the ministrations of an individual healer can cure illness have been popular throughout history. Miraculous recoveries have been attributed to many techniques commonly lumped together as “faith healing”. It can involve prayer, a visit to a religious shrine, or simply a strong belief in a supreme being.
Among Roman Catholics the best-known accounts of faith healings are those attributed to the appearance of the Virgin Mary at the grotto of Lourdes in France. The Catholic Church has given official recognition to 67 miracles and 7,000 otherwise inexplicable medical cures since the first miracle in Lourdes in February 1858.
In contemporary times some of the most famous Protestant faith healers are Smith Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple McPherson, William Branham, Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, and Benny Hinn.
I experienced healing at a Benny Hinn revival. It was very interesting because I didn’t ask for the healing to occur. I woke up that morning and had a strong feeling that I should wear my super fancy pink suit. I didn’t want to wear this suit because it meant wearing fancy shoes, and I didn’t want to do that because my foot had been bothering me for more than a year. It wasn’t a serious, horribly painful, dire situation. It was a hard bump like maybe a stress fracture on my instep that had healed incorrectly. It hurt quite a lot when I pressed on it or when I wore fancy shoes.
I followed the voice in my head and wore the pink suit. We arrived at the United Center where the revival was taking place and the usher told us to go up to one of the front rows even though we didn’t have priority seating. I think they liked the look of my sparkly suit and thought it would look good on TV. When Benny Hinn asked people to go forward for a blessing, we were in the front so we were among the few who were able to receive prayer. It was really crowded and I was afraid I would get crushed. I was just looking for a little blessing or whatever God had to offer.
When I got on the stage it got really weird. I actually saw a cloud sort of appear out of nowhere, and then I saw Benny Hinn’s head coming out of the cloud toward me. Very strange and ethereal. He grabbed my head and said something, I don’t know what. Then I fell to the ground. They picked me up and he grabbed my head again. I started laughing because it was so funny. When I got up again the cloud was gone.
Later, as we were leaving the United Center, I realized that it didn’t hurt to walk. When I got to the car I took off my shoe and the bump was gone. John will testify that this really happened. He felt the bump often and worried about it. He wanted me to go to the doctor and I didn’t want to deal with it. John will testify that it was healed.
I’m really glad my foot got healed. It wasn’t a serious thing and I never asked God to heal it so it’s a little hard to understand. But although I didn’t ask for my foot to be healed, I can say that I was hoping that something good would happen. I had faith that God would show up and he did.
So back to the question “What is faith?” Frederick Buechner provides a beautiful answer:
“Faith is different from theology because theology is reasoned, systematic, and orderly, whereas faith is disorderly, intermittent, and full of surprises…. Faith is homesickness. Faith is a lump in the throat. Faith is less a position on than a movement toward, less a sure thing than a hunch. Faith is waiting.”
What does this scripture say to you?