Your Faith Has Made You Well

Your Faith Has Made You Well provides a radical way to use faith as a guidepost when standing at the inevitable crossroads of life, where despair abounds. The book helps the reader learn how to “bear into God” as an alternative to accepting a life of resigned desperation. The book uses both Biblical and modern heroes to show an alternative way, through Jesus, of living a life of hope amidst the turmoil of modern times.

Your Faith Has Made You Well

Using Faith in a Turbulent World to Create Hope 

Your Faith Has Made You Well is an inspirational book created to lift up believers from valleys of despair to living a life of fulfillment through the promise and inheritance of being a follower of “the One.”

In a world searching for hope and a sense of purpose, the book provides a gateway through our Christian faith on how to achieve hope, faith and sense of purpose.

Eight times Jesus said, “Your faith has made you well.” In a new and unique perspective, the book gives valuable and critical insight into how to live into this famous statement by Jesus.

The book explores the importance of our own personal investment in our faith development in achieving a fulfilled Christian life.

Discover the importance of being made “in the image of God” and its connection to why the primal basis of humanity is good.

Read stories of faithful and uplifting life journeys connected with lessons from the Bible.

When standing at the crossroads of life, Your Faith Has Made You Well provides examples and the lessons of other faithful Christians to learn which way to turn.

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Preview & Excerpts

Prologue

Standing Alone in Front of God

In the first century, standing on the side of a road, pressed in by a throng of onlookers, a woman stood waiting for Jesus to pass by. Waiting for what seemed like her final chance to be healed. For twelve long years she had been hemorrhaging from a disease that had isolated her from her community and forced her to live on the outskirts of society. For twelve years she had spent what little money she had on doctors, only to have her health continue to decline. Frightened by the decline and scarred by the isolation caused by her disease, she desperately wanted to be healed. Faithfully she stood there waiting for “The One” to pass by, so she could touch his cloak and be healed.

Hidden in this story is the specific nature of the social isolation that occurred with the woman’s persistent bleeding. By the standards of the first century, she was considered “unclean.” As such, she was banned from communal activities and, like the lepers of her time, forced to live away. Loneliness was a constant companion. Like most people she could adjust to her situation, but just beneath the surface of her forced acceptance, she desired human contact and affirmation of her existence. She was alone and declining in health.

There he was, close enough to touch. As he passed by, she forced her way through the enormous crowd and went up behind him and touched his cloak. Instantly she felt that her disease had been cured. He turned around and looked for the person who had touched him. The crowd was thick and pressed in around him, so those with him were confused and asked who had touched him. The woman emerged trembling from the crowd and said that it was her. There trembling in fear, she was standing face to face with “The One.” Despite the crowd, she now stood alone, looking into the eyes of God.

Jesus, looking into the eyes of a desperate person, saw the pureness of her faith. In that moment he affirmed her existence as one of God’s children and said to her, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” For twelve long years she had tried everything possible to escape from her disease and isolation. In an instant, with incredible courage and faith she had bravely stepped through the crowd and found her answer, a step in her life forced by her desperation and her faith that Jesus was her answer. The many long nights of searching in her mind for a solution were now at an end. She was whole again. A simple brave act of reaching out to touch the cloak of God had changed the course of her life. Jesus had affirmed her existence and faith. She now belonged and was healed!

We Yearn to Know Jesus

Early in the Gospel of John, Jesus was walking on a road and was followed by two men. Sensing their presence, he turned and asked them, “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38) It is the same thing we all are looking for. To be with Jesus and have Jesus in our hearts. Those walking with Jesus on the road in ancient Judea wanted to know Jesus. They wanted to have the presence of Christ in their hearts. They wanted a deeper relationship than just knowing Christ existed. Like many of us, they wanted their hearts to be connected to God through Jesus.

Matthew Henry, the famed theological scholar from the 17th century, called this kind of changed experience that of “an awakened soul.” It is a communion between our souls and Christ. It is Christ who begins the conversation, by asking us, “What are you looking for?” When we hear this question deep within our hearts and souls, the process of fully accepting Jesus has begun. The conversation starts, and we begin the journey of leaving other thoughts, focused on our faith.

A faith that Jesus exists and is with us, is what we are looking for. A faith in the unseen that heals us from the troubles of our world. A faith that becomes our refuge when we are left disrupted.

Bringing Our Faith to the Surface

A healing faith comes from a life of following Jesus. Not just praying to be healed, but from developing a connection and relationship with Jesus. The faith that heals us comes from a concerted desire to be connected to Jesus. This journey often requires many valleys and peaks. It is a journey that must continuously be explored. Like all adventures it has many chapters. Through our struggles our faith matures. If our faith has not been tested, we are long overdue.

This book contains the stories of almost fifty people, many that I interviewed and some that were researched. I discovered that most faith stories exist just below the surface of our projected state of normalcy. Deep stories from a life of yearning to know God. Stories of success and disappointment with their faith and lives. In my interviews, the discussions became very personal and I observed that these discussions of faith lives brought extraordinary emotion to the surface. Sometimes there were tears not from sorrow, but from the raw emotion of their lives and faith. Gil Rendle, the wonderful author of many Christian books, relayed to me, “I see this yearning in America. A desire to know and grow strong in their faith. A constant under the surface desire to be connected to a compelling and loving God.” Gil is right, I saw the same thing during my interviews.

Taking the Yoke of Jesus

Jesus tells us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) A simple request to turn away from those things that distract us and turn to accepting the lessons and wisdom of Jesus. To have faith in Jesus rights our path, not only because he is with us, but because we pick up his ways.

My friend Mel, who had left the corporate world to help the poor for the Catholic Church in the northwest part of the United States but now returned, called me in distress. He had walked away from a well-paying job for two years to help those less fortunate. Upon his return to the corporate world he was finding it hard to find a new job. Many interviewers did not understand why he left, and many were put off by the fact that he was sixty. He kept meeting dead ends in his job search. Confusion about doing good in the world and then being rebuffed in the job market had created a crisis in his life. He did not need a job for the money; he just wanted to belong again.

Over the next two years, he searched for a place to work. He prayed on a regular basis. He even went away for a week to a retreat center looking for his answer. He wanted desperately to belong again. His self-esteem plummeted, and he began to feel worthless. His searching kept leading him to disappointment.

We talked on a weekly basis, at an appointed time, and during these sessions, I would often probe him about why a job in his old world was so important. He would reply, “Because it is my identity.” For years he had worked hard to provide for his family and build a wonderful résumé, but now he had lost that ability.

During these two years, Mel would still help others. In fact, he helped a group of nuns create a shelter for homeless pregnant woman. Many days he put in long hours painting and fixing the shelter. Within this community he found acceptance, but not what he wanted. He wanted to go back to his old life. Oftentimes, I would tell him how much I admired his caring and giving efforts for others. I would relay to him that when I told his story to other people, they were amazed at his giving nature and life. For two years, this was not enough for Mel. He kept searching and not finding. Eventually, he decided to go back to school and become an EMT, while he waited for a more ideal new job. He kept waiting for Jesus to answer his prayer of finding him a job.

Typical of Mel, he was one of the best students in the EMT training. Despite some physical limitations he was able to keep up with the younger people in his class. He began to thrive. Many times, I would get a text from him saying something like “I can’t talk tonight, I am going out with my classmates.” I was used to this, as many of the people I help eventually find their answer and move on to their new life. It is a very familiar process. I miss these people and often wonder how they are doing, but my job was done.

Later, in one of our final conversations, Mel relayed to me that he had prayed for an answer many times, but he kept looking in the wrong spots. The answer to what was his identity did not lie in the old spot of the corporate world, but in helping make the world a better place. Jesus had been answering his prayers; he just had not paid attention.

Jesus asks us to take his yoke. Jesus reminds us that he is “gentle and humble of heart,” and that his “yoke is light.” How many times do we all pray for something that we want, but Jesus gives us something different? He gives us a life plan that soothes our soul and gives us meaning. Many times, it is about following a new path, away from the familiar. A path of uncertainty on which we take his yoke and are guided by his “gentle and humble” heart.

Mel is peaceful now and I miss my weekly calls, but I am happy that Mel’s new identity is on a path of giving. When we ask ourselves “What sort of man is this?” Jesus’ answer is also, that he is “gentle and humble of heart.”

Saved From a Difficult Life

Jesus is invited by Simon, a well-known Pharisee, to his house for dinner. Soon after Jesus arrives, a woman of questionable repute also arrives at Simon’s house. She had heard Jesus was going to be at Simon’s house, and because of her low social status, she had a limited opportunity to meet with Jesus. This was her chance. A chance to be redeemed. She’d had a difficult life; some of her bad luck was her fault and some, the circumstances of life. She desperately wanted to change the course of her life. A compelling feeling inside of her knew Jesus was the answer. She only had to barge into Simon’s house and move quickly.

She arrived at Simon’s house with a jar of expensive ointment and quickly walked over to Jesus. Standing behind him, she begins to weep. Weeping hard enough to wet Jesus’ feet, which she wipes with her hair. As she is bent over wiping her tears from Jesus’ feet, she begins kissing his feet and applies ointment. She is in front of God crying and in complete submission. Completely and fully, she bares her soul.

Seeing all of this, Simon the Pharisee, thinks to himself, if this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner. Jesus, knowing what he is thinking, asks the man, “A certain creditor had two debtors, one owed five hundred Denarii, and the other owes fifty Denarii. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replies, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.”

Jesus says, “You have judged rightly. Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.”

Jesus goes on to say, “Her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

Jesus then calls the woman over and tells her, “Your sins are forgiven.” This surprises the other dinner guests, who remark, “Who is this who even forgives sin?”

Ignoring this comment, Jesus looks back at the woman and says, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” -Luke 7:41–50 Her brokenness healed, she now knew that despite her lowly and difficult life, God loved her. The deep yearning to receive God’s acceptance and change her life had been answered. This yearning to see God and be with God, created a flood emotion that rose to the surface and expressed itself through tears and adoration. Her faith in Jesus had healed her.

The Tides of Life

Our greatest enemy in these periods of stress is time. We want things to be righted quickly. We want to have our answers quickly, and we want to be free of the binds of sadness. These periods of time can stretch on endlessly, and the mountaintop of relief can seem too far away.

Charles Allen, the great pastor, writer, and radio host of the mid twentieth century, describes this period as the tide going out. He says, “Sometimes all we can do is wait for the tide to come back in again.” This is easy to say for those of us not in stress, but for the person in grief the wait can seem endless. It is here we must reconcile with the sovereign nature of God.

After spending two weeks on an island along the coast of Georgia, Charles Allen created a reflection on the tides. In this reflection he quotes Psalm 95:5, “The sea is his, for he made it.” Adding to this, Allen says, “Such assurances give one a deep sense of security. With a God like our God, we know that we really have nothing to fear.” Sitting and watching the sea reinforced Allen’s faith. A two-week statement by God to him on the majesty of the sea and of God himself.

Others have experienced similar feelings. When I asked my friend John Robinson, a well-regarded friend by many of his neighbors, with a knack of speaking common sense with immense clarity, about his faith, he replied, “How else could the deer glide so effortlessly into the trees, where no one of us could go? Or watch the birds fly to and fro; we only have to watch the things of nature to know that only God could create this elegance.”

As a pastor, Charles Allen had seen and helped many distressed people. He noticed the similarity of their grief to the tides he watched for two weeks. The tide will come in and then go out. As with our lives, there are highs and lows, but the tide will always come back in. Believing this is the core of faith. Despite our present circumstances, God will always be with us and is sovereign. To have this belief requires an observation outside our lives. Perhaps it is an observation of the rhythmic tides. Perhaps the beauty and elegance of nature. Perhaps it is seeing great acts of mercy. Perhaps it is knowing that the night is always the darkest and coldest before dawn. The reconciling of our grief with the sovereign nature of God tells us which path to take.