In both of the passages we read today, we see women who had so much faith in Jesus that they relentlessly sought out healing, one for her child and the other for herself. 

I have always loved these stories, but I especially love the story about Jesus in Luke 8. There is something profound about Jesus, both fully God and fully human, allowing His power to minister to and heal a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. Maybe it’s the fact that it is a distinctly feminine wound that the Lord heals or maybe it’s the faith of a woman that causes the Son of God’s power to heal. But regardless, I love that this story displays the kindness of a God who heals, and also the faith of a weary and sick woman. I love that in both passages, Jesus tells the women that it was their faith in Him that made them whole. 

Passages like the ones we read today remind me that faith in Christ never fails. But, truth be told, as much as I’d like to identify with the women in these passages, I often find myself approaching God like the father of a demon-possessed boy in Mark 9. The story goes that the boy had been possessed by a demon and had been foaming at the mouth since childhood. He was bent towards death and destruction. And the father, weary from the heartbreak of loving a tortured son, came to Jesus and said, “If you are able to do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22). 

Did you catch that? Jesus, if you are able… 

Let’s get one thing clear: Jesus is always able. And yet, my heart identifies with the father in Mark 9. All too often I, too, call God’s ability into question. But I love the following verses and Jesus’ response to the father. Just like Jesus’ compassionate response to the women in Luke 8 and Matthew 15, Jesus is compassionate to the doubting father in Mark 9. Jesus replies (and I’m paraphrasing here), “If I’m able? Dear one, all things are possible for those who have faith and believe.” And then He healed the man’s son. 

And the father’s response?

“I believe; Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

I love that this profound statement is in Scripture. I love that in addition to two women who went out of their way to just get to Jesus because of their faith, we’re given a father in Mark 9 who simultaneously proclaims his faith and his need for help to believe in the same breath. I love that we have examples of both a fierce faith and feeble faith, but all who call upon the name of the Lord were met with a compassionate Jesus. This is good news for those of us who believe but still wrestle with doubt. It is healing for those of us who preface our prayers to God with ‘God, if you are able…” and for those of us who want the faith of a child but just can’t get there on our own. 

The women in the passages we read in Matthew and Luke had a fierce faith that came naturally. And the Lord knows I’ve prayed to have a similar faith. But for those of us who are weary, who have experienced heartache and have been let down, we are also given the example of the father in Mark 9. 

And so today, if your faith is strong, may you be like the women in Matthew and Luke and boldly proclaim it with both your words and your daily life. But today, if your faith is weak, may you find comfort in an honest but feeble faith, and make the conscious choice to join our collective prayer and proclaim, “Lord, we believe! Help our unbelief!” 

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Brittany Salmon

Brittany Salmon

Brittany Salmon is a freelance writer, an adjunct professor of Global Studies, and an equipping minister for her local church. She is also an orphan care and prevention advocate, and a doctoral student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She spends her free time eating Chick-fil-A and exploring her new home state of Texas with her husband, four kids, and their dog, Mr. Tom Hanks. You can see what she’s up to on Twitter or Instagram.

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