Risky Faith

A few weeks ago my pastor described God as a “story teller”. This description stuck with me and over the weeks that followed as I read through the New Testament I realized just how true this is. Quite often in the Bible we find a story within the story. This is the case in Mark 5. Verse 22 starts out telling the story of Jairus, a local synagogue leader who comes to plead with Jesus to heal his dying daughter. We expect the chapter to continue with Jairus’ story, but there’s an underlying subplot that pops up unexpectedly. On the way to heal the daughter of Jairus we meet an outcast—a women who has spent the last twelve years of her life living with continuous hemorrhaging. I sympathize with this woman because six years ago I experienced hemorrhaging brought on by multiple, mandarin orange size, benign fibroid tumors in my uterus. For a year I lived with excruciating pain, nausea and extreme bleeding that was just too awful for words! I was extremely anemic, had zero energy and was afraid to leave the house because of the unpredictable bleeding. I found myself slowly descending into depression. I understand how desperate this woman was to find a cure. Can you imagine being in the same situation in Jesus’ time? This woman is considered unclean by the Jewish population, she’s an outcast from society, she’s not allowed to participate in any Jewish rituals, festivals, celebrations or any of life’s basic day to day activities. I’m sure depression, fatigue and anemia were her constant companions. The Bible tells us she’s seen many doctors but none have helped her. (Am I glad medicine has come a long way since then!)

This woman at the end of her rope! She needs a miracle! And then she hears about Jesus...perhaps He is her last hope. She’s heard the stories of the miraculous healings he’s performed and somewhere deep in the midst of her depression there’s a glimmer of hope, the tiniest flicker of faith. If she could just get His attention...maybe there’s a chance…

I imagine her heart plummets when she sees the crowds surging around Jesus. Her last hope for wholeness is lost in a sea of humanity but she refuses to let this last chance elude her. Perhaps she has to crawl on her hands and knees through the legs of people to get to Jesus. She takes a great risk just by coming in contact with the crowd. Remember she is unclean and anyone who touches her becomes unclean, too. Somehow through the tiny flicker of faith in her heart she finds the strength to fight her way through the crowd and come within reaching distance of Jesus. She doesn’t call out to Him; she simply reaches out in faith and touches His cloak.

My curiosity gets the better of me here...is she surprised when she is suddenly healed? I know we pray, we step out in faith and we believe in the power of prayer, but to be perfectly honest somewhere in my logical mind there lurks a black shadow of doubt. Does she fight her way through the crowd completely certain she will come away healed? Or does she struggle through the crowd desperately hoping, with a little faith, a lot of courage and some lingering doubt in her mind? We’ll never know, but I like to think that perhaps she has doubts too, but takes a risk of faith and reaches out for the healing power of Jesus in spite of her doubts.

This woman takes a risk of faith and is restored to wholeness. What risk of faith is God asking you to take? Is the Spirit whispering to your heart? Where is Jesus calling you to step out? All it takes is a tiny flicker of faith to make a huge difference in your life. When you act on the small flicker, it becomes a larger flame, reaching into all the areas around you. Are you ready to take the risk?

Looking for someone with all the answers? Someone who never questions her faith? Someone who has the perfect life figured out and knows exactly who she is and where she’s going? That’s NOT Carol!

For the last eleven years Carol has worked as a sales representative in the corporate world of medical sales. She\'s also spent time involved in pastoral care, administration and the prayer shawl ministry at Southwood United Church in Calgary. During this time she’s always wondered what she wanted to do when she “grew up”. Over the last year, that question has changed from, “What do I want to do when I grow up?” to “What does God want me to do in his service now that I am grown up?”

The answer led her to be mentored by Christian author and speaker, Shannon Ethridge, and has developed into a ministry in writing, speaking and blogging. In this ministry Carol freely shares her experiences of low self-esteem and being bullied as a teenager. She talks about experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and loneliness as an adult. She experienced the pain of loss at 15 when her mother died and has been exposed to domestic violence when a close friend was strangled. Carol knows the devastation of divorce, and the slippery slope that leads to marital infidelity. She\'s familiar with the frustrations and rewards of being a step-mother. Through God\'s grace she is now happily married to a wonderful man who shares her Christian faith.

Carol knows first hand what it’s like to experience God’s forgiving mercy and grace. She loves God who has redeemed her life and is passionate about sharing the wonderful message of His mercy and grace with other women. Carol can be found blogging at www.carolhenders.blogspot.com .