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Posted: March 7, 2013 7:08 p.m.

McCoy: Having faith when reality hits

While Jesus was speaking to them, a ruler came and knelt in front of him, saying, "My daughter has just died. But come and place your hand on her, and she’ll live."

So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him. Then a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and touched the hem of his clothes.

She thought, If I only touch his robe I’ll be healed. When Jesus turned and saw her, he said, "Be encouraged, daughter. Your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that time on.

When Jesus went into the ruler’s house, he saw the flute players and the distressed crowd. He said, "Go away, because the little girl isn’t dead but is asleep;" but they laughed at him.

After he had sent the crowd away, Jesus went in and touched her hand, and the little girl rose up. News about this spread throughout that whole region.

Matthew 9:18-26

(Common English Bible)

Because I said so! How many of you have heard those words coming out of your mouth? When I was a teenager, I told myself I would never say those words to my kids. Well, many times I have found myself thinking those words and even saying them on occasion. Sometimes we get tired of giving reason after reason, none of which are accepted without a lengthy discussion or rebuttal. Sometimes, just sometimes, we say, "Because I said so, and that’s all the reason you need." I wonder if Jesus was ever tempted to say those words to those unbelieving Pharisees, and even his own disciples.

As I have grown through the years, I have learned something about faith, and sometimes, I can imagine those words coming out of God’s mouth: "Believe it because I said so." Here’s some of what I have learned:

First, faith involves belief, which is accepting something as true. The synagogue leader came to Jesus for the healing of his daughter even though she was already dead. He believed Jesus could do something for her.

The woman with the hemorrhaging problem also believed just touching Jesus’ garment would make her well.

We also see those who did not believe, like the mourners at the home of the dead girl, those who would dare to laugh at the authority of God.

Notice what Jesus did — he rebuked them, answered them and put them out of the house.

What about us? Do we believe God’s promises to us? When God sends us to do a job, do we believe that God will be with us? Abraham did. The synagogue leader believed. Do we believe?

Faith also involves obedience, or acting on what we believe to be true. We must be willing to obey God’s call to be a witness for him in our everyday lives.

The synagogue leader believed, and then went to Jesus to get help from him.

The woman believed, and then acted by going and touching Jesus’ garment.

What is Jesus calling you to do? Do you believe that God will do what he says he will do? Will you act on your belief?

And faith involves hope, which is a benefit or promise that we cannot yet see.

The synagogue leader had hope his little girl would live again, and that hope combined with his belief Jesus could bring her back to life gave him the strength to act — to go to Jesus and bring his problem to him.

The woman with the hemorrhaging problem had hope she could live without this problem that had haunted her for 12 long years.

That hope, combined with her belief Jesus could heal her gave her the strength to find Jesus and touch his garment.

Notice what Jesus said to her, "Your faith has made you well." Faith involves belief that God will act, obedience to God’s call and hope God will make us into the people he created us to be.

Have you faith in God? Will you act on your faith? If so, will you have hope God will be with you through whatever you may face?

Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at jan.mccoy@ngumc.net or at covingtonfirst.org.

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