But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

Mark 5: 36

When it comes to matters of faith, we hear a lot of chatter in our world. People and organizations readily share what they think is right, and they often seek to impose their views on these matters on others. They ask that we have faith in them and in their mission. It would seem that faith in something is very important. For many it is also important to be right about these things. After all, we are talking about the sorts of beliefs that hold our world together and that frame the way that we view it and engage with it.

What we have faith in and how that belief is lived out can get to be very complicated. It often involves rituals and sacred practices. There is special knowledge to be obtained that comes only from wizened masters and long-term practitioners of the faith. For many there is the very powerful faith in the non-existence of any form of god or creator. This is faith in self and belief in systems and structures that we can observe fully in all of their brokenness and failure. Yet, Jesus says that faith is actually very simple. No secret handshakes or elaborate rituals are needed.

He tells the grieving parent, “Do not fear, only believe.” This is a story about the way that faith heals, but it is not about the restoration of our bodies. Jesus does restore life to this twelve-year old girl, but that fact is not the most important thing. The faith that heals is the one in which we are able to surrender ourselves to Christ totally and fully. It is a simple and unadorned belief in Jesus as God, Savior, Lord of my life, and King of all Creation. Belief in Jesus is what heals us of all that is diseased and dying in our souls. This faith tosses off the fears that disable us, and it provides us with the strength and the vitality that we need to live out God’s calling for our lives.