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Pointers along the way #402

Simple faith
- Jacob Ninan

We know the story of the woman who had a haemorrhage for twelve years who heard about Jesus and thought that if only she could touch the helm of His garment she would be healed (Mk.5:28). God honoured her faith by healing her. But it would be wrong for us to imagine that this shows there was some supernatural power in Jesus' clothes! The power was in Him, and not in His clothes. But then how did she get healed by touching His clothes?

We read of another incident when handkerchiefs and aprons from Paul were taken around and people got healed (Ac.19:12). Actually the power to heal was neither in the clothes nor in Paul, but in Jesus whom Paul preached!

In cases like these, for those who make a superficial reading of the Scriptures or who place undue meaning in words, it is easy to get a wrong understanding of spiritual things. We look around and see many Christians keeping a cross or a Bible in their room and expecting to be free from evil spirits, and others making money selling holy water, blessed prayer shawls, etc.

What really happened in the above biblical incidents was that this woman and the people who got healed through Paul were expressing their simple faith in God in the way they knew or assumed. We must also remember that paganism with its magic and magicians was familiar knowledge in those days. The means they used for expressing their faith actually amounted to superstition, because there is really no power in things or people but only in God (Ps.62:11). But God graciously overlooked their ignorance (Ac.17:30) and acted in response to their simple faith in Him.

Now we see many people getting healed in meetings held by some preachers who have questionable backgrounds in terms of their financial integrity, manipulation of people, playing around with truth regarding their ministry, etc. Can we attribute these miracles of healing to merely psychological manipulations? Not always. Many of them are genuine healings. Is it possible that evil spirits are manifesting works of deception seeking to mislead people away from God's truths? Perhaps, but we can't classify every healing like that. The other possibility is that when people go to God in simple faith, expecting Him to heal them, and not knowing anything about God's opinion about these preachers, God is honouring their personal faith in Him, without authenticating these preachers!

When we look at God we should know that His heart is bigger and greater than the best of our imagination. He wants to save and to bless everyone. Many times He does things that go beyond our understanding of His ways. He answers the prayers of some people we think He should have known better (Lk.7:39)! Many testimonies we hear may have elements that are difficult to accept, and make us wonder about their truth! A little bit of scepticism is good for our safety. Even when giving glory to God for what He has done, let us be careful about giving doctrinal validation to the practical details.


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