The Touch of Faith Mark 5 21-43

The Touch of Faith
Mark 5:21-43
Timothy Keller
Jesus didn't come to tell us the answers to
the questions of life, he came to be the
vs 21-24 The Willingness of Jesus to Help
vs 25-34
Thinsg we learn
God is fearful, yet personable
vs 35-43 Jesus raises Jairus
daughter from the dead
The basic word I-You can be spoken only with one’s whole being. The
concentration and fusion into a whole being can never be
accomplished by me, can never be accomplished without me. I
require a You to become; becoming I, I say You. All actual life is
Buber, Martin (2011-05-17). I and Thou,
Trans. Kaufmann (p. 62). . Kindle Edition.
stage 3
She is dead
The healing of 1 is the death of another
Do you see what's happening?
Do you see how God works?
Why bother the master
beyond him?
Oh -who touched me?
do not be afraid
Do not fear death. Do not fear your
circumstance. Do not fear what seems
impossible before you right now. Do not fear
The transfer of fear shows up in all 4 miracles
Fear of storm. Now fear Jesus
Fear of demoniac. Now fear Jesus
Fear of ??. Now fear Jesus
Fear of circumstance.
only believe
Believe in Jesus. Believe in HIs power. Believe in his word.
Believe He is able. Believe death does not have the final word.
Beelieve that His kingdom is greater than the kingdom of
Believe that jesus came to
restore all things, even death.
did you learn the lesson from this woman? Did you see what
has just happened. Do you knw what is more important than
anything in life? do you know wha tI'm about and why my
father has sent me and what I care about? Did you see that?
Mourners formed a professional guild in first-century Judaism and were required at funerals;
Even the poorest person in Israel should hire at least two flute players and one wailing woman,"
said Rabbi Judah a century later. The mourners, usually women, accompanied the bier from the
house to the grave, clapping their hands together and wailing haunting laments. Edwards Jr.,
James R. (2009-10-05). The Gospel according to Mark (Pillar New Testament Commentary)
(Kindle Locations 3317-3320). Eerdmans Publishing Co A. Kindle Edition.
commotion, weeping wailing
Mourning practice
poorest provide for at least 2
wialing women, and flower ...
large funerals lots of wailing....
often same day.... she dies
REF: Lazarus ... he refers to that as sleeping
Paul will talk about it in terms of sleep
death is not final
Means there's a waking up! Resurrection
n that moment, Jesus redefined death as a temporary condition. That’s why He uses the
metaphor or the analogy of sleep. Sleep is a temporary disconnect, isn’t it? You’re
insensitive to the environment around you when you’re asleep, you don’t hear the
conversations, you don’t participate socially. You’re asleep. But it’s a temporary
situation. And Jesus is saying for this girl, this is just asleep, it’s temporary. This is not
sweet child
puts transloation in Mark wrote to Greeks ..
Talitha koum"
is Aramaic; talitha is a feminine form of the word for "
or "
koum an imperative meaning "
49 The Greek translation indicates that Mark's first readers
in Rome were not native Hebrew or Aramaic speakers, who otherwise would not need a
translation. The Greek translation, "
little girl,"
is endearing. The word korasion, a diminutive of
korē (a stately young woman or maiden), indicates prime childhood, perhaps "
little lady."
nomenclature reveals the vast difference in Jesus' perspective of the girl from the mourners'
Edwards Jr., James R. (2009-10-05). The Gospel according
to Mark (Pillar New Testament Commentary) (Kindle
Locations 3328-3332). Eerdmans Publishing Co A. Kindle
Jesus wants faith, jesus wants touch,
Jesus wants intimacy and
stage 2
he went with him"
This is why I have come"
), Mark testifies to Jesus' commitment to minister to
human need and to the inestimable worth of the human individual for Jesus.
Edwards Jr., James R. (2009-10-05). The Gospel according to Mark (Pillar New
Testament Commentary) (Kindle Locations 3254-3255). Eerdmans Publishing Co
A. Kindle Edition.
I love Matthew 12:20 which basically quotes Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed He will not break and smoking
flax He will not quench.” When someone is bruised and battered and broken and the flame is about to
go out, He doesn’t break that person further, He doesn’t blow that wick out, He comes to bring rest and
strength and restoration. I love that. Matthew 14:14, He was moved with compassion. Mark 1:41, He was
moved with compassion. Mark 8:2, “I have compassion on the multitude. Matthew 9:36, “When He saw
the multitudes He was moved with compassion.” So much compassion in the heart of God of those who
there was a woman
NOTE: She's not named. Why?
Cause no oen would know her.
THe contrast is Jairus is named.
Jesus reaches the big and small!
She's at a an end and she thinks heres jesus
Desperation does that. it's wonderufl. It brings
an end to our self-sufficienciy. She's at an end.
no one can help.
This is encouraging that the main reason people
dont' find Jesus is not because they have too little
faith, but becahst they have too much pride -
This is not saying, “Faith is something you have to conjure up.” Faith is simply admitting, “I am
helpless. I am weak.” If today you say, “I haven’t connected to Jesus,” the main reason you
haven’t connected to Jesus is not because you haven’t conjured up some kind of faith. The
main reason is because you still have too much pride to admit, “Without you, I am nothing.”
Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian
Is based on information
public he brings it out public
has a direction
It's more about direction than dimension.
Its'about the posture of the heart rathe rthan
the extreme coureage of the heart
Note what she does here.... where Jairus comes and bows, he
comes among the crowd, a following .. not his fault, but just the
way it is. He has friends servants. He comes towards Jesus.
Finds him. Pleads come.
But note this woman. Unnamed cause what'sthe point of
naming someone that no one knows. She's been unclean for 12
years. Outcast. OUtsider. And she comes just touch the hem
of the garment.
why? Not to make him unclean
think about her faith and how
it was not so ideal
She has terrible faith. She says, “If I just touch his cloak …” She has a quasi-magical understanding.
She is superstitious. She has no idea who he is. The reason he has to pull her out and make her see it
was her faith that saved her is she has no idea who he is. She has no idea what he brings. She has
no idea she needs more than just magically to be cured, but she needs actually a spiritual cure and
she needs to become one of his disciples and a person who is willing to confess him publicly.
Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian
I mean, the reason Jesus pulls her out and does all that is because her faith is
such a mess. It’s such a wreck. It’s incredibly theologically flawed. It’s
incredibly weak. It’s incredibly superstitious, but he heals her. Keller, T. J.
(2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer
Presbyterian Church.
He doesn’t say, “Now will you have faith?” He says, “I healed you because of your faith.” Well
what does that mean? It is not the strength of your faith that saves you but the object of your
faith. It is not the dimension of your faith. It’s the direction. What do you have faith in? See, this
is the 180-degree opposite to what the common view of the man or woman on the street is
today. What do you hear over and over and over again? Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller
Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
I hear it in the op-ed pages. I hear it on talk shows. I hear it in books. I hear it
everywhere. They say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe
it with all your might.” Jesus Christ is saying here, “It doesn’t matter how
heartily you believe it as long as you’re believing in the right thing.” It’s exactly
the opposite. Total opposite.
Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon
Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian
The common view is not common sense. Imagine three people, and they’re being chased by a bear. They’re running through the snow-covered
forest. They get to a ledge, and they realize the only way they’re going to escape is if they jump down onto the frozen pond. The first guy jumps,
and he says, “I’m going to die! I’m going to die! I’m going to go right through. I’m going to drown.” He hits the ice, and it’s six inches thick, and
he is saved. The second guy says, “I’ve got a 50–50 chance. I might drown. This might work.” He hits the six inches of ice, and he is fine. He is
saved. The third guy says, “This will probably work. It’s been pretty cold for a pretty long time.” He hits the six inches, and he is saved. Which one
is more saved? Well, the one with the most faith? Absolutely not. It has nothing to do with the amount of faith. The guy who said, “I’m going to
die! I’m going to die! I’m going to die!” is saved. Why? He jumped. Why was she healed? She just came. How much faith do you have to have in
the ice for it to save you? Just enough to jump. How much faith do you have to have in Jesus? Just enough to come. Keller, T. J. (2013). The
Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
saved by faith
we all get that faith is important, key.. but we
make the mistake in thinking faith must be
We think God's not answering me because even though i'm coming to him
and praying and seeking, i have doubts, my faith is not perfect, so I have to
believe more, believe more, pretend I have no doubts ... voodoo over the mind,
suppress my doubts, be unreal with them... then, I'm good enough and God will
hear me.
But the truth is, it's not "
saved by
your faith"
it's saved through your
We sing a song ... can we be real with it
Just as I am, though tossed about With many a conflict,
many a doubt, Fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb
of God, I come, I come. Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller
Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian
such good news!!!
A transfer
All the other miracles there was simply a word -
storm _ Peace. Be still. Demoniac Go! No exertion
like you see in the movies... run out of energy and
ppower ...
But here, she touches him and she's healed and jesus
says power has left me. That is, soemthing from him is
transfered to her adn that transfer makes her well,
Ironic becuase she's got a bleeding problem. Blood is leaving
here, flowing from her. And she touches jesus and power flows
from him. He takes on her attribute. Something precious from
him flows involuntarily from him.
What is this? Substitute.
The unclean for the clean
He has to be cut off. He has to be thrown out. He has to be killed outside the camp, outside the
gate. He has to be forsaken so we can be taken in. Therefore, the thing that connects you to
Jesus Christ spiritually, the thing that will get you past where most of us are (that is just being
kind of generally inspired by his example), is you have to look not just at Jesus in general but at
the cross in particular and of him crying out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” for
you Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer
Presbyterian Church.
She touched him... she touched
God and did not die! Mt. Sinai
She heard, she came, she touched!!!
Heard Faith is a response to hearing. Goes in
line with hearing. If we never hear, we never
have faith.
he did it because she’d heard. She had gotten information about him. She had learned
something about him. The common view today is to think of faith as opposed to thinking. We
think of faith as going against what we know. Absolutely not. It takes tremendous faith to act in
line with what we know, because faith is not opposed to your thinking. Faith is opposed to your
fears. Faith is opposed to self-protection. Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive.
New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
See, for example, let’s just say you and five friends come to this huge gorge in the middle of the jungle, and there’s this terribly
rickety bridge. The first four go across it. Let’s say they’re all heavier than you. It comes to you. You have a lot of information. So
does that mean it’s not going to take faith to step out on that bridge? Oh yes! It’s going to take a lot of faith. You see, it’s not
faith against the information. It’s faith in line with the information and going beyond the information. If you want to find faith in
Jesus Christ, you have to learn about him. You don’t just close your eyes and say, “I’m going to believe in what gods there be.”
Come on! You need to learn about him. You need to study. You need to find out about him. Something that’s maybe a
no-brainer, but you have to say it. She heard. Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer
Presbyterian Church.
Hence we need to learn to present Jesus and
not just the gifts of jesus. If we do that, then we
press I-iT christiainty
Look at the gospels, written primarily to understand to believe in jesus. In them
is revealed his life, his character, his mission, his sacrifice. It's meant for readers
to learn about jesus. To get incite to him. It's not one long emotion treatise to
jsut believe, just believe. No. The foundation is know this Jesus, see what he has
Turht matters .. why eyewitness
accounts matter so much
so many touched him but only one touched him. The truth
is you can be around jesus and crowd him and touch him
but not really touch im. Not really know His power in your
denying his power...
Mark describes her condition as a mastix, a graphic expression meaning "
lash, scourge, or torment"
(see Acts 22: 24; Heb 11: 36). The term combines
physical suffering and shame, hence something akin to punishment. Edwards Jr.,
James R. (2009-10-05). The Gospel according to Mark (Pillar New Testament
Commentary) (Kindle Locations 3257-3258). Eerdmans Publishing Co A. Kindle
In a dramatic volley of Greek participles, v. 26 graphs the woman's condition precipitously: having a
blood flow, having suffered from many doctors, having exhausted all her wealth, having not improved
but having gotten worse. The same verse is equally emphatic and categorical: she suffered much from
many physicians, exhausted all her resources, and gained nothing. Clearly, the woman's prospects are
no better than the dying girl's. Edwards Jr., James R. (2009-10-05). The Gospel according to Mark (Pillar
New Testament Commentary) (Kindle Locations 3258-3262). Eerdmans Publishing Co A. Kindle Edition.
The point is her life was no better than the
dying girl. She was alive but her living was not
life. Her living was a living death. This is the
Jesus comes not just to destroy death, bu all
the entrails, the things that come with death.
The gospel is not jsut about overcomign death it is surely that
but it is so much more. It is also not just about overcomign
physical pain it willutliatmely be ablut that ... bu tit is about
According to the Torah, a woman was unclean for seven days after her monthly period, but if she
had a protracted gynecological problem, as does this woman, she remained unclean throughout
its duration. Anyone who came into contact with her during menstruation would be banished
until evening (Lev. 15: 19-27). Josephus's testimony that "
the temple was closed to women
during their menstruation"
(War 5.227) indicates that this particular Torah ruling was carefully
observed in Jesus' day.
Edwards Jr., James R. (2009-10-05). The Gospel according
to Mark (Pillar New Testament Commentary) (Kindle
Locations 3262-3266). Eerdmans Publishing Co A. Kindle
Question Like Jesus asking
Adam where are you?
Piont is to change this miracle
into a meeting.
She wants a healing, He wants
far more than that.
i it relationship vs i thou
relationship with person
martin hubert -
people want an i it relatinship
In the kingdom of God, miracles
are not an end to itself. Meetings
Discipleship is not just having ones needs met.
It's growing in the presence of Jesus... beign
Luke 8:46 says, “I was aware
that power had gone out of
This is rich insight into the reality that our God is not detached. He is not unfeeling in the sense that He has no
personal connection to us. While He is unaltered by what men do, He is still personally engaged in every act of
power. I told you, people like to say I have a personal relationship with Jesus. Let me tell you something.
Everybody who has ever lived has a personal relationship with Jesus. He is personally involved in their
redemption, or He is personally involved in their judgment. Every expression of power, and every expression of
deliverance is an experience that He feels. No one receives His power into his life without His personal
The chance of finding the suppliant in such a large crowd exasperates the disciples, but
ironically they are more out of touch with Jesus than is the woman. The persistence of Jesus in
discovering who touched him rivals the woman's persistence in reaching Jesus. She wants a
cure, however, a something, whereas Jesus desires a personal encounter with someone.
Edwards Jr., James R. (2009-10-05). The Gospel according to Mark (Pillar New Testament
Commentary) (Kindle Locations 3289-3291). Eerdmans Publishing Co A. Kindle Edition.
THsi is not Jesus pretending.. remember he left
his omniccient behind and lived in constatn
revelation fromthe Father...
This is not the fear of embarrassment. This not the fear of hostility from the crowd, because she touched
them in the process of getting to Him. This is holy terror. This is holy fear. She’s not afraid because of her
offense. She is afraid because she’s aware of what has happened to her. And what has happened to her is
she has just been healed in a split second and she knows it and she therefore knows what Jesus had
been saying all along and what Mark is trying to let us know that this is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. She
is in the presence of divinity or deity. This is not human embarrassment, she got pass that. This is holy
stage 1
going back to the east side
lay ruler president...
sabath readers ... organzie .
piety, influential ... well to do often
In a synagogue the conducting of public worship, reading of Scriptures, preaching, and public prayer were performed not by a
professional class of officials but by lay synagogue members. The ruler of the synagogue, accordingly, was not a worship leader or a
professionally trained scribe or rabbi but a lay member of a synagogue who was entrusted by the elders of the community with general
oversight of the synagogue and orthodoxy of teaching. His responsibilities included building maintenance and security, procuring of
scrolls for Scripture reading, and arranging of Sabbath worship by designating Scripture readers, prayers, and preachers. Ordinarily, a
synagogue had only one ruler, but not always. Acts 13: 15 speaks of at least two rulers in the same synagogue. In v. 22, however, "
one of
the synagogue rulers"
should probably be taken to mean "
one from the class of synagogue presidents."
Edwards Jr., James R.
(2009-10-05). The Gospel according to Mark (Pillar New Testament Commentary) (Kindle Locations 3237-3243). Eerdmans Publishing Co -
A. Kindle Edition.
Here is a desparation of a parent in anguish ...
and often that means all we have are lost,
taken away. No pomp here.
Did he know about Jesus? Oh yes. Absolutely he knew about Jesus. Jesus had done many, many miracles in Capernaum.
And notable miracles that could not possibly miss the grapevine. Even the ones that this man didn’t see, he would have
heard letting a man down through the roof of a house, healing him and forgiving his sins, and a myriad more
day after day after day in Capernaum. And, by the way, he may have been in the very same synagogue where an incident
occurred in chapter 1 recorded by Mark verses 21 to 28 where Jesus came into the synagogue, was teaching in the
synagogue and in the middle of His teaching, a demonic power spoke out of a man’s mouth and identified Jesus as the
Holy One of God. In fear and terror, the demon exposed himself saying, “What business do we have with You? You are the
Holy One of God.”
The daughter's condition is critical: the Gk. eschatos echei (NIV, "
is dying"
) is a
colloquialism for "
at death's door"
or "
sinking fast."
Edwards Jr., James R.
(2009-10-05). The Gospel according to Mark (Pillar New Testament
Commentary) (Kindle Locations 3250-3251). Eerdmans Publishing Co A. Kindle
Main idea
The clean touches the unclean and the
unclean become clean. How does that
It's so telling too, because every other thought of relgion is how to clean your
life. You come and clean your life becuase at the end, you get in touch with
yourself, or in touche withthe cosmic being, or in touch with the super natural
zen of this universe. But Jesus comes and he's clearly different, he's making the
point that Jesus comes to touch the untouchable. He cleanses.
This btw, says a few things to us
You don't cleans first and then
come, ou come. He cleanses.
But if you have been cleanse, then you have been
cleanse! So the expactation is not that you are cleanse,
but the expectation is that once you are cleansed ... you
will liveit
NOte: Woman says she's been
healed then. IMmediately.
Note; The girl gets up, walks. eats. What is that?
Proof! It means she's alive. She's not a ghost,
not out of body experience. She's been made
chapter 5
Mark 5 might be called the "
St. Jude chapter"
(the saint of
hopeless causes), for the Gerasene demoniac, the menstruating
woman, and Jairus each find hope in Jesus when all human
hopes are exhausted.
Edwards Jr., James R. (2009-10-05). The Gospel according
to Mark (Pillar New Testament Commentary) (Kindle
Locations 3228-3229). Eerdmans Publishing Co A. Kindle
What does faith then mean?
a way to refering to relgion -
there are many faiths"
in NT, used only to refer to the christian
religion. Other than that talks about idolatry...
faith religious personal preference
Faith in something ... truth
doesn't matter... whatever you
you really must have faith in Jesus"
will understand i tthrough that grid a personal
That faith is never used in the NT
Faith TURNS ONLY on the truthfulness
of what is believed, nto sincerity ...
1 Cor 15 faith in Jesus is
false... if he is not risen
Faith is a God given ability to
see what is true and to believe
if it's not true, it' snot faith
maybe presumption, gullibility,
indegstion, tradition, stupidity .. but it's
not faith.
Which is why the NT is always pushing the truthfulness of jesus,
... historical revelation.. real time of history.. .witness so
important.. why it's so importnat people touched, and heard,
and saw ... muultiple witnesses...
HISTORICAL!!! not just now...
faith is a persevering faith
Woman's faith perseveres..
presses.. touches
Jairus gives up... people gives up.
REF: Hebrews talks about persevering faith
APP: persevere in faith
not the faith of the strong, but weak,
not of the bold, of the frightened, not
the object of faith!!!
Jairus was named, she was not
he's important
Jairus ruler over synagogue,
woman not allowed
Jairus seeks healing for another,
her for herself
Jairus comes form the front, she sneeks up
from behind, he coudl dot hat, she could
Jairus bold persistence.. come with
me... // she is frieghtened, ashamed
End of day she has faith and jairus does not.
Get that... the difference ...
His faith is faltering...
So the sandwhich allows us to
see what true faith is ...
got up, walk, eat
full restoration
Mark -
Jesus will say he came not to
serve but to be served
Jesus will institute a new
covenant based on his blood
Approach to Jesus
The interruptable Jesus
His Timing
outsider vs insider
Her name is not given (or remembered), and she has no position. Her only identification is
her shame, a menstrual hemorrhage. She must approach Jesus from behind, whereas
Jairus approaches Jesus face to face. Jairus, in other words, is a person of status and
privilege. Edwards Jr., James R. (2009-10-05). The Gospel according to Mark (Pillar New
Testament Commentary) (Kindle Locations 3338-3340). Eerdmans Publishing Co A.
Kindle Edition.
both are healed by touch by jesus
both refered to by daughter
both duration and age is 12
So this woman has been
suffering for a life time.
both scoff what Jesus is doing (38, 40)
both is unclean, yet Jesus
touched them (blood and
In both cases, Jesus does not become
unclean but the people become
two people come to Jesus by faith
both want a miracle but jesus
wants to deal with their faith
Markan Sandwhich
middle determines the sandwhich
Middle of the narrative this woman!
In the middle of the middle is
the queiton WHO TOUCHED
This is the question isn't it? God is
beofre you and how touched
ILL: Stories of us touching
people. Pictures. why?
God has made us to touch... babies!
There's somethign related...!
vs 42
AMAZED 11. ἔκστασις ekstasis; from 1839; a displacement (of the
mind), i.e. bewilderment, ecstasy:—amazement(1), astonishment(2),
completely*(1), trance(3) Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard
Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition. Anaheim:
Foundation Publications, Inc.
A section on the nature and
power of the kingdom (Mark 4 &
All are moments of complete desperatino -
meaning, they have no solutin, no hope. All their
ability and expertise cannot do anything. No one
can help.
Storm fishermen who know the sea cannot do
anything. They think they are going to die. They don't
even ask for help. They just question his care, his love.
Demoniac "
no one can subdue him"
. Forget helping him,
they just want to subdue him and they cant. He doesn't have
1 demon, he has 6000 demons. He's completely out of
Woman has tried everything, "
spent all that
she had"
(v26) and was not better but getting
. Going backwards. No more resources
Ruler Daughter is at point of death. This ruler is asking Jesus.
Already conflicts with religious rulers, butthis ruler is desparate.
And finally, they say "
don't bother the master"
she is dead. No
use. No help. Just weep.
All display an incredible amount of power
Display of absolute power over creation
3 words calm the waves and the see
He speaks to it directly, does not pray
to the Father. Authority resides in
So great is his power, he sleeps
through the storm
Displayed power over demonic world
The demons speak of a time Jesus will
torment them (even as they are tormenting
the man)
They must ask for permission to go into
the pigs they are under his ultimate
Jesus says 1 word "
and they go
Displayed power over sickness
(bleeding woman)
Just a touch of his garment, even when he
is not directing the power, heals this
Displayed power over death (Jairus daughter)
Jesus displays his power over death!
All happened immediately
demons leave
she healed immediatel
5:42 immediatley girl got up
All are brought to fear
storm 4:41 "
filled with great fear"
demoniac the peopel feared
woman 5:33 fear
ruler 5:36 fear
All are brought to his feet
Ruler 5:22 "
he fell at his feet"
woman 5:33 "
felld own before him"
demoniac 5:15"
sitting there"
Faith is the issue!
QUOTE: Kyper sovereign over
all things... do we believe that?
But is that the issue? Is that all He is?
ILL: Some view of Jesus good
teacher, helps us, directs us...
Peopel are offended by this type
of Jesus.... his claim to
What does the woman teach us? It teaches us that
to be in touch, abide, connected to jesus heals the
broken things of our lives tha tnothing else can
GOD POINT: Jesus raises people from the dead.
The power to perform resurrection is a God
So many lessons on faith here
touch him but then jesus
says tell me your story
faith comes and asks
faith presses through the crowd
faith comes from desperation
(for both in this story)
Faith when it seems all is lost