Saturday, June 18, 2016

According to Thy Faith

Repeat and or meditate on this verse until your thoughts are centered on God.
My yearning soul turns to the past;
to keep the feast I led the crowd.
Up to God's house we'd come at last;
with joyful thanks we'd shout aloud.
O why, my soul, do you grow ill,
and why are you cast down in me?
Hope now in God; I'll praise him still.
My Helper and my God is he.
 —Psalm 42:4-5
Suggested tune: Jerusalem (LMD)

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.' 
—Luke 8:43-48
This miracle illustrates the genuineness and power of feeble and erroneous faith, and Christ’s merciful way of strengthening and upholding it. The woman, a poor, shrinking creature, has been made more timid by long illness, disappointed hopes of cure, and by poverty. She does not venture to stop Jesus, as he goes with an important official of the synagogue to heal his daughter, but creeps up in the crowd behind him, puts out a wasted, trembling hand to touch the tasseled fringe of his robe—and she is whole. 

She would fain have glided away with a stolen cure, but Jesus forced her to stand out before the throng, and with all their eyes on her, to conquer diffidence and reticence, and tell all the truth. Strange contrast, this, to his usual avoidance of notoriety and regard for shrinking weakness! But it was true kindness, for it was the discipline by which her imperfect faith was cleared and confirmed. 

It is easy to point out the imperfections in this woman’s faith. It was very ignorant. She was sure that this Rabbi would heal her, but she expected it to be done by the material contact of her finger with his robe. She had no idea that Christ’s will, much less his love, had anything to do with his cures. She thinks that she may carry away the blessing, and he be none the wiser. It is easy to say, What blank ignorance of Christ’s way of working! what grossly superstitious notions! Yes, and with them all, what a hunger of intense desire to be whole, and what absolute confidence that a finger-tip on his robe was enough! 

Her faith was very imperfect, but the main fact is that she had it. Let us be thankful for a living proof of the genuineness of ignorant and even of superstitious faith. There are many now who fall with less excuse into a like error with this woman’s, by attaching undue importance to externals, and thinking more of the hem of the garment and its touch by a finger than of the heart of the wearer and the grasp of faith. But while we avoid such errors, let us not forget that many a poor worshiper clasping a crucifix may be clinging to the Savior, and that Christ does accept faith which is tied to outward forms, as he did this woman’s. 

There was no real connection between the touch of her finger and her healing, but she thought that there was, and Christ stoops to her childish thought, and lets her make the path for his gift. ‘According to thy faith be it unto thee’: His mercy, like water, takes the shape of the containing vessel.
 —Alexander Maclaren 

I pray, O my Father, that you would help me to have a simpler and more confiding faith. May I trust more than I know and believe more than I see; and when my heart is overwhelmed within me, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I...
 —F.B. Meyer
Allow the above to help guide your own confession, praise, thanksgiving, and/or petition.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
 —Matthew 6:9-13

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