Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Luke 8:40-56 (NRSV)
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying.
As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.
Too often in the church I have heard people use lack of faith as an excuse to explain why something bad happened to someone. “I guess my wife died from cancer because my faith wasn’t strong enough” or “You just need to pray harder that God take away your depression” are only a couple of such examples. Sometimes people with the strongest faith are not healed, but the ones who do not believe experience great miracles.
In our scripture today, two people were healed. The first was the hemorrhaging woman who had enough faith to reach out and touch Jesus’ cloak. She was immediately healed; Jesus told her that her faith had made her well. This story would seem to support the idea that by having the right amount of faith a person will be healed, but our second story of healing is the complete opposite.
Jairus had asked Jesus to come to his home because his daughter was ill. As they were headed that way, servants brought word that the girl had died. At this point the doubt began. First, they suggested that Jesus not even bother coming because she was already dead. When Jesus arrived and said, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved,” they actually laughed at him. But Jesus paid no heed to their disbelief and brought her back from the dead.
It is by the grace of God that some are healed, not by their amount of faith. But faith is what allows us to trust God and be at peace, even when physical healing doesn’t come.
Almighty Healer, there is so much pain and death in the world and we don’t understand why sometimes the best people are not healed. Give us peace to accept that even when healing doesn’t come, you still love and care for us. Help us to trust in you even when we are hurting and confused. Amen.