Matthew’s Gospel records what happened when the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years touched Jesus; “Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.”
There is such a thing as divine healing, and we all want to access it – either for ourselves or for those we care about. So when we read the story of this particular woman, we tend to focus on Jesus’ statement, “Your faith has healed you.” We then assume that if we have faith we will be healed, and we get frustrated and despondent if we are not immediately healed. It would be wiser to take Scripture in its full context.
First of all, it is not just any faith that heals.
The woman had a faith that caused her to rise from her home and go to where Jesus was. For her, that was uncomfortable. Her condition would’ve meant that excessive movement would result in an embarrassing predicament. Still she goes. Moreover, she pursues Jesus even though there was a crowd of people around Him. She even reaches through the crowd to touch Him. She knew that such close contact with all those pressing around Jesus would mean that her condition will be noticed. She risked being called out as unclean in front of a large group of people. That would make her would be even more of a pariah than she already was, and now the synagogue ruler was there too! Yet she persisted, because she believed that Jesus could and would heal her.
She had faith that prompted her to action – and that is the only kind of faith that really matters. Faith that doesn’t result in action cannot heal, because that isn’t really faith. As James said, faith is made complete by what we do (see James 2:22, 24).
Yet many have faith that does prompt them to action and it still cannot heal (or save) them. They have faith in Allah or faith in Mohammed or faith in Bhudda or faith in themselves or faith in something else. That kind of faith cannot heal either. It is faith, but it is a mere faith. It is faith put in someone or something that has no spiritual power over circumstance or condition.
Faith in Jesus is different. Faith in Jesus can heal, because it is faith in the One who actually does heal. As Matthew has already recorded, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. […] people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.” It is Jesus that actually does the healing, not anything within ourselves. And it is our faith in Him, acted upon, that connects us with Him who heals.
Yet that doesn’t mean that He who heals is obligated to heal us instantly. It doesn’t mean He is obligated every time we cry out to Him for healing. And this is something else to consider, even as we act in faith.
For His own reasons, Jesus may by circumstance and providence delay our healing. He may use that time to lead us through a journey to be a witness to others of their inability to heal, just as the woman He healed in Matthew chapter 9 wound up waiting twelve years and speaking to many along the way. Each one she spoke to found themselves unable to truly help. They are all shown to be less than Jesus, and likewise the long lasting effect of her illness is also shown to be less than Jesus. But the world wouldn’t know that if she was healed earlier.
Faith sometimes has to wait. Nevertheless, the day is coming when every prayer for healing will be positively answered. “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” Amen.
The road you travel as you follow Christ leads to the cross before it leads to the resurrection.anonymous
If God has healed you, be thankful. If God has not yet healed you, be thankful. He surely will in His time, and meantime He will not waste your suffering.