Read Mark 5
Focus on verse 36
To believe something or “in something” means we trust that what we believe is true. Sometimes we believe a lie, and then we are disappointed when reality of truth collides with the fallacy of our belief. I have heard people use the term believe as if our minds have some kind of psychic power to cause what we believe in to happen. While that makes a wonderful story, it does not align with reality.
If you purchase a lottery ticket and believe with all the faith you can muster that you have the winning ticket, it will not make your ticket the winner unless you happened to purchase the winning numbers. Your ticket either already is the winner, or it is not the winning number. If it is – you will win, if it is not – no amount of believing will change that fact.
In today’s reading Jesus is on his way to heal the sick daughter of a synagogue ruler. Before he reaches the destination, someone informs the ruler that his daughter had died.
But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” (v. 36)
The assumption of the people who came to tell the ruler his daughter was dead was that it was now too late for Jesus to heal her. The reason Jesus told the ruler not to fear but to believe was not because his belief would change the situation. Rather Jesus told him to believe because Jesus already knew the girl would live again. Jesus was encouraging him to embrace what Jesus already knew to be true.
I have at times encountered folks who seem to believe that our faith has a supernatural power to make miracles happen if only our faith is strong enough. Scripture seems to make it pretty clear that only God makes miracles happen. It is possible that our faith in His ability to make miracles happen may have an influence upon God’s decision whether or not to make a miracle occur, but it is not our faith that makes it happen. What our faith does is align our will with that of God so that when He chooses to make a miracle occur we are then ready to accept it.