What does it look like to have faith? How do we get the kind of faith Jesus mentions when He grabs that little child and coaches His disciples on the necessity of childlike faith? While we wrestle with our day-to-day issues, it can seem overwhelming to consider a faith that moves mountains. After all, we are normal people with normal lives and that sort of thing just seems a bit out of reach.
In Mark chapter five we find the story of the bleeding woman. Mark tells us she had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. It is heartbreaking that this woman didn’t just feel awful and weak from the unending trial, but she also was left to deal with the social consequence of an issue she never asked for. She was considered unclean by law, meaning that anything or anyone that touched her was also considered unclean. She was lonely, sick, out of money, and probably almost completely out of hope for her situation.
Mark 5:26 describes her situation, “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” As I read through this familiar story, I was caught by the statement Mark made about this woman and her journey. She had put herself through a lot of costly suffering with no guaranteed end. She simply knew she had to put her faith in these doctors or there would never be a chance things would change. Yet, instead of getting better, she worsened.
With nothing left and no other options, she redirected her focus. We know how the story ends; she touched His cloak and immediately her bleeding stopped. Jesus knew the moment this had happened, and His parting words to her were, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
This woman’s life was completely changed by her faith—her willingness to reach out for her miracle. However, this wasn’t a new concept for her. Faith was something she had lived with for twelve years now. She didn’t magically “gain” faith, she just turned the focus of her faith to the One who could truly change her life. She believed that if she tried enough, if she found the right doctor, if she paid enough, then her life would change and that healing would come. But her displaced faith did nothing but make her current situation worse.
Like this woman, we can often live our lives with displaced faith. We believe if we do enough, try hard enough, gain enough success, marry the right person, or gain the right title, then life will suddenly become what we desperately hope for. We have a case of displaced faith.
We walk through life, wondering what it takes to get the faith to experience miracles and personal breakthrough, yet we tie ourselves up with backup plans and well-laid futures that include minimal amounts of flexibility for the direction of the God who can heal us completely with one touch.
Her breakthrough came the moment she thought God can do this for me. I just have to touch Him. Like this woman, the moment you turn your faith from the temporary things of life and start trusting His future and His plans, you too can be made whole.
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Olivia Dummer is a student in Blue Springs, Missouri where Jason Huckaby is her pastor. She writes and keeps an inspirational blog hoping to encourage others and share what she’s learned about God.