The power of faith
A little more than a year ago, you and I shared the story of my dad, C. T. Bowen, on his eighty-ninth birthday. Now, a year and a half later, we pause together to say a word about my mama — Louise Bowen — as now she would’ve been eighty-nine, as well. This past Sunday – August 9 – would have been her eighty-ninth birthday, as she was born in LaGrange in 1931. Appropriately, the amazing blonde and I spent her birthday in our old hometown, worshiping with the Four Oaks Church of Christ of LaGrange. I thought of Mama a great deal Sunday, and I thought a great deal of her faith.
Had she lived during Bible times, the inspired writers could well have lauded her faith and proclaimed that she was a woman woven from a strong, special cloth. The Lord often would pick out such women — the Mary Magdalene’s of the world — and He would point out that He had not seen such faith in all of Israel. The Lord could look deep down into a man or woman’s heart and see how much faith is in there. He still can.
I think it is very appropriate that this week we pause to consider another powerful example of faith, from the biblical historian Matthew, chapter nine. It is the story of a woman who had a long battle with a blood disease. For 12 years she has been searching for a cure, to no avail. But somewhere along the way, she hears of Jesus; she hears that He is going to be coming nearby, so she makes her way to see Him. It is easy to find the crowd, even from afar, because there is always a buzz around the Lord. Had you been there that day and happened to see her weaving her way determinately toward Jesus, you might have stopped her and asked, “Ma’am, where are you going in such a hurry?”
“Oh,” she would have answered, “I’m just making my way to see the Lord.”
“What’s wrong?” you would say.
She might pause long enough to tell you about her disease and how she has heard of the Master and thought that if she could just get close enough to touch Him – maybe even touch the hem of His garment – that it would be enough to heal her.
You would have been amazed and might even have tried to be the voice of reason to her:
“Friend,” you could have said, “that won’t do any good. You’ll need to get His attention, and then maybe He can heal you.”
But she would have ignored that advice and proceeded on toward the Master. Had you stood back and watched, you would have been surprised to see the Lord turn to her as she touched His garment, and say,
“Daughter, be of good comfort. Your faith has made you whole.”
Her faith! Ah, that made her whole. That made all the difference.
I cannot help but think of Mama today – and her faith – when I think of this great story. Mama’s faith would’ve lasted all of these eighty-nine years, I am most sure, had her life not been cut so short. But the Lord allotted her only forty-two years, and she walked all those years by a strong, resolute faith, such a faith that was seldom seen in this Southern-land.
And all along the way for those short years, she did what the woman of old did. She drew as close to her Master as she possibly could, making her way courageously through life’s crowded way, so she, too, could touch the hem of His garment, day by day.