Imperfect Faith

(Snapshots Session 5)

Mark 5:21-43

The Sick Woman

12 years. One little girl 12 years old. One woman sick 12 years. Their two stories collide on a road in Galilee.

The young girl sick, near death. Jairus rushes to Jesus asking for help. “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.”

And so Jesus comes.

While he makes his way along that dusty, dirty road, the crowd crushes in around him. And that woman. . . .the one bleeding for 12 years gathers up every ounce of courage, every moment of desperation and reaches out her hand.

Perhaps believing the superstition that the robe of a great man had power. “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

She touches the cloak. And in an instant she is made well. Her body is freed from the suffering.


The suffering.

Physical: a woman bleeding 12 years leaves one anemic, weak, broken.

Social/religious: a Jewish woman bleeding leads her to be an outcast.

Emotional: hopeless. She has spent all she has on doctor after doctor. They don’t know how to fix her so they try potions and odd things boiled in wine and sitting over trenches and hopeless means that lead to just more suffering.


Jesus stops. He turns. “Who touched my cloak?’

For the disciples this is impossible. So many people. How would you know?

For the woman, this horror filled moment- she tried so hard to be anonymous, to sneak up behind, to not allow him to peer at her face, to just stick out a hand and touch.

For Jesus, he knows. He felt the power go out of him. He wants to see her.

She comes forward. Kneeling. Trembling. Explaining.

“Daughter, you faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Her imperfect faith. Freed. Not just her body but all her suffering. No longer an outcast. No longer hopeless.

She reached out a hand in imperfect faith and she was given hope.


Meanwhile, Jairus’ daughter dies. Just like that. But Jesus goes anyway. He reaches out and takes her hand. “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” And she does.

Two stories. One trip.

Jairus coming to Jesus religiously clean. Boldly. In the open. And Jesus moves and gives hope.

The woman coming to Jesus unclean. Quietly. In secret. And Jesus moves and gives hope.

For that is what he came to do:

“to proclaim that captives will be released” and that “the oppressed will be set free”  (Luke 4:18-19)


Freed when in desperation a hand is held out. Released when an imperfect faith acts.

Imperfect faith.

Coming to him just as we are. Without it all figured out.

Come to him with an imperfect faith.


Take a moment or two to experience  Addie Zierman’s  “Come Weary”


I am about to check into a hotel for a three day writing retreat. I have deadlines and trying to write in the midst of life as normal is just not working. I get so distracted. Write a paragraph then go put a load of laundry in. Then on the way back to the computer I notice that the mail just came. Go get the mail. Open mail. Deal with mail. Remember that I’m writing so back to the computer I go. Phone call. Someone is coming to pick up some paperwork I haven’t signed yet. Go print off paperwork. Sign paperwork. Organize paperwork. Answer door. Chat. Realize I need to change laundry out. On the way back to the computer start cleaning the house. Remember that I’m writing so put broom up. Sit back down to reread paragraph to remind myself what I was doing.

So that is why I’m going to a hotel where there is no laundry, no house to clean, no dog barking, no husband and no teenagers. (No husband and no teenagers make me sad. No dog, laundry and house to clean does not make me sad.)

I am reminded that in the busyness of life it is so hard sometimes to think. It is so hard to focus. It is hard to hear from God at times.


We need more of it. We need to unplug. We need to sit in stillness and listen.

Recently my son went to a retreat where they had 30 minute blocks of solitude. He came home with a decision about something in his life that had been obvious to me for a while. Not so obvious to him until he found solitude. And there he heard God. Clearly.

Find some solitude. Even for just a few moments. No music. No computer. No distractions. Just you alone. . . and God.


Sixty-Four Box of Crayons, First Steps and Faith

Every September the one thing that I looked forward to the most as a child was the new box of 64 crayons. 64 different colors.  Each crayon sharpened to perfection with a sharpener build into the box for when the crayons would become dull on the end. Each crayon just waiting to create something, to bring color to something. Each crayon holding a world of possibilities.

Sojourn is a world of possibilities. Possibilities of new friendships. New places in the heart. New journeys to launch.  Possibilities of letting go. Of leaving the old behind.

God is full of new possibilities. It just takes a step toward God to start opening those possibilities.

The thing about taking a step toward God. . . the step must start with courage. Resolve. Determination.

And faith.


Just a little bit of faith that the step will indeed open up a new world of possibilities.