(Picking up from yesterday’s story)
But what if the deep pain of these families losing loved ones is not because of their lack of faith or God’s lack of faithfulness?
What if the issue at hand is the teaching of faulty expectations? The deep disappointment is because we were expecting what we aren’t promised.
I know very well the woman’s story. For twelve years, she’s “been subject to bleeding” as the text blandly says. She’s suffered from doctors. She’s been ceremonially unclean. She’s used all her money. Her situation is dire.
And she realized that if she touches his cloak, she will be healed.
And so, we teach that if we just touch the cloak of Jesus we will be healed. If we can just figure out what to touch, we will be healed. If we support the right ministry, if we believe the right amount, if we refuse to entertain negative thoughts, there will be healing, just like that woman.
Which means, I suppose, that if we had believed harder and prayed with more confidence and refused to entertain negative thoughts, our daughter would have lived and not died due to an extra chromosome in every cell in her body.
I said yesterday that there were three stories about healing in this section of Mark. The first one talks clearly about the faith of the woman. But in the second one, the parents don’t come asking for a resurrection, they just want the healings that Jesus was doing. And it’s Jesus who says, “I’ll take care of it. You believe.” The belief wasn’t the thing that caused the healing, Jesus was.
And in the third story, there was no faith. People simply refused to understand that this guy they knew was anything other than the guy they knew. And in the climate of disbelief, the only miracles Jesus does is to heal a few people.
Possibly, physical healing isn’t the pinnacle of the miraculous work of Jesus.