One cannot read the Four Gospels without noticing the huge role that faith (trust) plays in people receiving from God. For example, when the centurion’s servant was healed, Jesus commented that he had not seen such great faith in all of Israel (Luke 7:9). When the woman with the issue of blood was healed, Jesus told her, “…Daughter, your faith has healed you…” (Luke 8:48b). Before Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter, he said to Jairus, “…Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed” (Luke 8:50). Upon healing a leper, Jesus said to him, “…Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19).
Records such as these could be multiplied, but the point should be clear: in many of the healings and miracles that Jesus did, he pointed to the faith of the person as that which healed them. We know from the scope of Scripture that it was not faith that healed the person, it was God who healed the person, but the person’s faith accessed the healing power of God and caused it to work in the person’s life. Thus in a very real sense, the faith can be said to have healed the person.
If faith accesses the power of God for healing and miracles, it would seem like every Christian would be on a quest to increase his faith. The apostles were. “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’” (Luke 17:5). But if we are going to increase our faith, we have to know what faith is and how it works. Once we are clear that faith is trust, and we build it like we build trust in other things, we can move ahead building our faith and receiving from the Lord.
We live in a culture that tends to be very fatalistic about good things happening. It is common to hear, “If it happens, it happens.” That is not the way to receive from God. Yes, there are times when God will do a miracle without the person having faith. A good example was when a dead man was thrown into Elisha’s grave and came to life when his body touched Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:21). Also, there are times faith is not enough for healing, when other factors besides faith keep people from being healed. For example, the Bible tells us that due to the sin of Adam and the wages of sin being death, “…man is destined to die…” (Heb. 9:27). Even with faith, we are all destined to age and die. But let’s not give up too soon!
God wants the best for all of us. He does not want people to be sick, diseased, poor and depressed. No! He wants to open the windows of heaven and pour blessings down upon people. We must do our part, however. We cannot just say, “I hope God blesses me.” We must trust that He will. That means that we, like the apostles, must do what it takes to have faith. We must push ourselves to learn what builds faith in our lives and what things are “faith-busters.” It is really worth it to push ourselves to have great faith. When we have faith, God can do wonderful things for us, just like we see happening in the Four Gospels.