And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” [Mark 5:34 (RSV)]
In Mark 5, we have three miraculous healings: the demoniac in the Gerasenes, the bleeding woman, and the daughter of Jairus. A Gentile, the demoniac didn’t seek out the Lord. What did he do to deserve healing? I have a dear friend, a man of faith, whose wit, intelligence, and joy have been stolen by severe dementia. Countless prayers have been offered on his behalf but he only gets worse. My uncle was a man of faith but he descended into the hell of psychosis from which he couldn’t escape even in his sleep. In spite of prayers for release from his demons, that release only came when he died. Why was the demoniac healed and not them?
The woman with the blood issue had been suffering for twelve years and, after spending all her money to find a cure, she’d only gotten worse. Sure that just touching His robe would heal her, she fought her way through the crowd to Jesus. He told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” What about all of the other people with faith for whom there is no healing? My mother had deep faith and even took part in the healing ritual of the laying on of hands but she died of cancer at forty-seven. Her faith didn’t bring healing and my prayer list is filled with the names of suffering people who, like that woman, have exhausted every possibility searching for a cure. Their faith is as strong as that of this nameless woman and yet they are not healed. Why her and not them?
Then there’s Jairus, the man who fell at the feet of Jesus and begged him to heal his daughter. By the time they arrived at his house, the girl was dead. Jesus held her hand, told her to get up, and she did. What did Jairus or his daughter do to deserve healing? As the local synagogue’s leader, had he been one of those in the synagogue who criticized Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath? He may even have been with the Pharisees when they accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan. Why was his daughter restored and not the little girl for whom I pray every day? Her parents and countless others have knelt before Jesus and begged for healing and it doesn’t come. We’re not even asking Him to raise her from the dead; we just want her to live!
There is no satisfactory answer as to why God restores health to some and not to others. Someday, in heaven, we’ll understand but, for now, we must have faith and trust in God; that’s not always easy. We must never think that healing is deserved. It is neither proof of our faith nor of God’s love for us and we can’t allow bitterness or anger to fill our hearts when healing doesn’t occur. While there are many instances in Scripture where Jesus links faith and healing, there are many others where the healing seems almost random. Let us remember that Jesus healed only one person of the many who were by the pool in Bethesda. Even for the most faithful, miraculous healings are the exception and not the rule!
Jesus told the bleeding woman her faith made her well and then he told her that she was healed which tells us that being well and healed are not necessarily the same thing. Faith makes us well (or whole) in a way that health can’t. Jesus healed ten lepers but only the one who returned was told that his faith had made him well. He wasn’t made well when his leprosy was cured; he was made well when his gratitude and faith allowed the power of Jesus to enter his heart. Faith in Jesus is what makes us well; while it may or may not restore health, faith will always make us well. Lord Jesus, it is well with my soul.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
[Horatio G. Spafford]