"Thy faith hath made thee whole." Or, "Thy faith hath saved thee."
Never, "I have made thee whole." Or, "I have saved thee."
Yet He was the One who touched; He was the One who extended the healing, saving power in the bodies and spirits of those people to whom He spoke.
So why that particular phrasing?
This pattern struck me recently. The Savior emphasizes the person's faith, not His touch. He confirms the healed one's faith after the healing; prior to it, He asks, "Believest thou?" And if the answer is yes, then He touches. He reaches out and touches, and all is made right again. More right than it ever was before. The lame leap; the blind see 20/20; the deaf can hear their own voice; the once-bereaved weep tears of utter joy.
Because He touched. Yes. He touched.
But He touched because of their faith. He could touch because of their faith. He said once, "I perceive that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you."
What kind of faith is that? That faith that acts as the prerequisite to the sought miracle? That faith that continues faithful even if the seeker never receives that miracle? What faith is it that invites the Savior's touch?
I have seen it this summer. In so many places. In so many people.
I have been reunited with it in a sealing room as it beamed at me, eyes alight with trust and a smile so big that no one in the room, except I, would know of the months of tearful, pleading prayer and daily struggle this angel with empty arms feels.
I have walked behind it as it twirled and skipped down the sidewalk, two sisters of mine singing and smiling at the blessings of the moment rather than worrying about the untold, uncertain tomorrow—knowing, somehow, that God will touch and unworried about the how and when of how their princess dreams and His own plan will reconcile.
I have sat beside it at the Sunday dinner table as it has pushed the plate away, put on the suit coat and hurried out to yet another Sunday meeting, as it has done for years now, even though the financial prospect of yet another Monday is daunting and the prayed-for solution still has not come.
I have felt it in a breaking heart that pounded against mine for a prolonged moment before the arms released their hold, a brave chuckle sounded and the legs carried it away down the solitary path it knew was right.
I have heard it in my boss's statement that "the Atonement is like the sky: it reaches out to touch the mountains no matter how high or low they stand today." And I have known, from the timbre of his voice and the quiet in his eyes, that he means what he says.
I have seen it in the smiling, blonde-haired girl who submits her mission papers. And in the tall, handsome boy who supports her in it.
I have knelt beside it in morning prayer as she who works the hardest and bears the heaviest load gives more thanks for blessings than pleadings for help.
I have watched it as it serves, a widow of a decade, in the temple every Saturday before returning to an empty house.
I have listened beside it in a church pew as it sat hunched over and raw-hearted, but present, and in a suit and tie.
I have heard it in the slurring words of a smiling special witness who, aged and fragile, testifies that God does not forsake His faithful ones, and who then returns to an empty apartment, bereft of his health, his youth and his best friend and companion.
I have beheld it day in and day out in those all around me who work, who pray, who serve, who smile and laugh and bear their sorrows and unrealized dreams hidden, because they know what it takes to be touched. They do it because they love and trust He who touches; and they love and trust Him even if He doesn't touch yet. That love and trust for Him lives in their every day and is evidenced to those, like me, who watch and gather strength from them.
They have touched me and strengthened my own faith. And for that I am grateful and pray their lives will be touched in the ways they need. Because of their faith.