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Pointers along the way #434

Faith and miracles
- Jacob Ninan

A woman who had been suffering from haemorrhage heard about Jesus and the miracles and healing He was doing to many people. She thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well" (Mk.5:28). She did that, and instantaneously she was healed! How exactly did this happen?

Some people imagine that it was the process of touching the garment of the Son of God that caused the healing. Since He is not here any more physically, they try the next best thing, touching handkerchiefs or other paraphernalia that have been 'blessed' by 'great men of God' in the name of Jesus.

Some believe that it was her faith that caused the miracle. For this they use Jesus' own words to the woman saying that her faith had healed her (v.34). As a result of this understanding people try to work up their faith (by repeating promises of God to themselves and rejecting all 'negative' thoughts) to the level that they believe will be sufficient to cause a miracle.

But can we not see, if we just think about it, that it was Jesus who healed her, and not her touching per se or any 'faith' that she had mustered up? She had faith in Jesus, and then she touched His garment, and then He healed her. If people imagine that certain processes or procedures can produce miracles, or that they can develop 'faith' in their minds to the extent that they can demand a miracle in exchange just as we can exchange coupons or points in exchange for prizes, they are totally off from the truth.

God does miracles for us out of His grace, which is something we don't deserve and which we can't earn. God also does this in His own sovereign way and there is nothing we can demand from Him. We can only request for His mercy (Php.4:6). When He sees our trust in Him (faith) He may respond to us with a miracle if it fits in His plan for us (1Jn.5:14,15). If He sees that we don't trust Him or expect anything from Him He may not do the miracles that He actually wanted to do for us (Mt.13:58).

There is an ordinary trust and confidence in God that we all ought to have, without which we can't have any relationship with Him (He.11:6). This kind of faith is based on our knowledge of God, His character, His ways, etc., and when we come to the place where we have confidence enough in Him to trust our entire life into His hands, then we can say that we have faith in God.

But there is a 'gift of faith' which comes into effect in connection with extraordinary events such as supernatural healing, miracles, etc. (1Co.12:9). In the case of the woman in this story God gave her this faith, and she felt that if she just touched Jesus' garment she would be healed. Obviously, if we don't receive such faith in our heart from God, and we simply imitate what she did, we can't expect any miracle. She was not aware that she had received this 'faith' and we too may not when it happens. But to work it out by ourselves without hearing from God (Ro.10:17) is folly, and that leads to lots of problems.


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