Obstacles of Faith

A few years ago, my son Connor was invited to a birthday party at an indoor playland. One of the birthday activities was the opportunity for the kids to climb a rock climbing wall that was as high as the ceiling inside the facility.

This was Connor’s first attempt at a rock climbing wall…and due to his very cautious nature…I wasn’t sure how he would respond.

Would he see the other children’s unsuccessful attempts and change his mind? Would he feel afraid as he looked down and realized he was so high off the floor? Would he think, “I am just not strong enough to climb a wall so high.” …Or would he stay focused on his climb…stay focused on the goal to reach the top of the wall?

After the attendant harnessed Connor, I watched intently as he began to climb higher and higher…carefully weighing his decisions of which pegs to grab with his hands and which pegs to set his feet on. And before long…guess what?  He had reached the top! He was focused on his goal…he was believing to reach the top…and he made it! Yes certainly a proud mommy moment!

What are believing God for today?

A physical or emotional healing…a job…a financial burden to be lifted…restoration in your marriage…a child to bear…an addiction to overcome…salvation for a loved one?

What obstacles are standing in the way of your faith?

Mark 5:25-34 depicts a truly amazing example of a woman with great faith. She didn’t have great faith because she was someone special…She had great faith because she was desperate and wouldn’t allow her obstacles to stand in the way of her faith and trust in Jesus…the one who would ultimately heal her.

24…A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” NIV

This woman’s need? This woman’s focus? This woman’s goal?…to touch Jesus and be healed.

If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed. Mark 5:28

But this woman certainly had some obstacles in the way of her healing…in the way of her faith…on her way to the very source of her faith…Jesus!

This bible passage is so awesome! As we dig deeper,  three important and interesting obstacles and aspects of this woman’s strong faith in Jesus become apparent.

Point 1: There is a large crowd following Jesus…so large that they pressed all around him. This same account recorded in Luke actually says… the crowds almost crushed him. Luke 9:42 NIV

Obstacle 1: This woman could see that there was a pressing…a crushing…large crowd that she had to overcome to reach Jesus.

Point 2: This woman had been a subject to bleeding for 12 years.Mark 5:25 Let me break this down further…That’s 4,383 days…144 months…624 weeks…105,192 hours. Can you even imagine?! I can’t stand not feeling well for just a few days! Let alone weeks…months…years like this woman!

Obstacle 2: This woman could feel weak and not well physically…and there’s a good chance that she did probably feel a lack of physical strength after losing so much blood and her body fighting for so many years.

Point 3: And finally, what about the fact that she spent all she had on doctors who couldn’t figure out how to help her and she even got worse! That would make me very frustrated…hopeless…and very bitter! How about you?

Obstacle 3: This woman could easily think… “If the doctors can’t figure out how to heal me, how can Jesus heal me?” She may have thought that there was no hope for her.

This woman clearly had a number of faith obstacles to overcome.

She could have easily given up on faith and gone home after seeing the large pressing crowd around Jesus.

She could have easily given up on faith and gone home because she felt too weak to push herself through the crowd to Jesus.

She could have easily given up on faith and gone home knowing that no one has been able to heal her thus far…so how could Jesus.

But she didn’t! She didn’t allow what she saw…how she felt…what she thought…stand in the way of her faith and for what she was believing Jesus for!

Are you?

Are you focused on what you see? …Are focused on how you feel? … Are you focused on what you are thinking? ….maybe all 3?

Are these obstacles standing in the way of your faith…in the way of what you are believing God for in your life today?

Sometimes it can be easier to focus on what we see…how we feel…what we think…and feel discouraged and lose hope.

This woman stayed focused on her goal…being healed. This woman stayed focused on getting to Jesus.

Oh, and did I mention the fact that her seemingly incurable condition made her ritually unclean (Leviticus 15:25-27) and excluded her from most social contact?! And her goal was to push through a crowd of people (thus touching people) to touch Jesus…thus making Him unclean under Jewish law?!

I don’t believe that she didn’t actually care about Jesus or anyone else in the crowd becoming unclean…but her faith was so great that again it overcame these obstacles!

Just like my son Connor…Just like this woman…We too can overcome these obstacles of faith if we stay focused on Jesus…by not allowing what we see…what we feel… what we think…get in the way of our faith.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 NIV

We  need to stay focused on our faith in Jesus as we are believing Him for things in our lives…whatever that may be.  Let’s not allow these obstacles stand in the way of our faith…because they certainly don’t stand in the way of Jesus…as we see it was ultimately this woman’s faith that healed her.

Jesus said to this woman, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.” Mark 5:34 NIV

Reflection Points:

1)      What are believing God for today?

2)      What obstacles are standing in the way of your faith?

3)      Are you allowing what you see…how you feel…what you think…stand in the way of your faith today?

Action Points:

1)      Stay focused on Jesus instead of what you see happening around you…what you feel…and what you are thinking. You can stay focused on Jesus by praying, reading His Word, and relying on other Christian women who will encourage you and continue to point you back to Jesus.

2)      Study and memorize scriptures about faith. Then when you have a moment and you lose your focus you can confess these scriptures to help you and encourage you to stay focused on Jesus.

3)      Study other biblical examples of people who trusted in God and how their faith was rewarded. Read the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11. You will be encouraged when you hear what God has done for others and your faith will increase believing that God will do it for you too!

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