Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at the Faith of Unremarkable People
I’ve always wanted to have remarkable faith. For some reason, I envision remarkable faith looking a certain way—strong, like David when he fought Goliath and brave, like Daniel in a den of lions. My faith, in comparison, often feels weak and unremarkable.
But what if “strong faith” doesn’t always look strong? What if the most remarkable faith is shown through those who come before God in all their desperation and weakness?
Remarkable faith is often grown in the broken soil of desperation.
Remarkable Faith by Shauna Letellier explores the faith of eight individuals in the Bible who are known not by their names, but by their afflictions. These individuals were so desperate to seek help from Jesus they went to great lengths to find him—breaking social and religious rules to get close to the only One they hoped, in faith, would heal. Some interrupted, screamed, and pushed their way through jeering crowds.
Jesus acknowledged these nameless people in the Bible and even marveled at their remarkable faith.
Letellier uses these miraculous encounters with Jesus to write fictional vignettes that dig deeper into the characters’ lives by painting a background of personal history that weaves together cultural and theological context. As you step into the past and encounter the daily life of each character, you begin to understand the painful affliction each person must have carried.
The surprising starting point of faith is to acknowledge inability, and to believe Jesus can do something about it.
Shauna does a great job of maintaining the accuracy of scripture while engaging readers with her colorful interpretation of each character. I appreciated the research and historical/cultural background she added to each vignette.
The scripture passage is included at the beginning of each story.
- Weak Faith (The Father of a Demon-Possessed Boy)
- Helpless Faith (The Paralyzed Man)
- Unworthy Faith (The Roman Centurion)
- Suffering Faith (The Hemorrhaging Woman)
- Distant Faith (The Samaritan Leper)
- Panicked Faith (The Mother of a Demon-Possessed Girl)
- Defiant Faith (Blind Bartimaeus)
- Flagrant Faith ( A Forgiven Woman Honors Jesus)
The first chapter depicts the weak faith of the father whose son was demon-possessed in Mark 9:17-27.
Shauna uses her imagination to describe the actions of the father as the demon was threatening the life of his son. I just love how she made the love of this father come alive to me through her words.
The father jumped out of the way of his thrashing son, but stayed near enough to chase him if he ran toward the nearest well or stream. He skittered around to protect him from the violence foisted on him by the demon—to soften the blows by throwing his cloak under the boy’s head for a moment, and to kick the largest rocks out of the way.
I also loved the scene in chapter 8 about the woman who poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped her tears with her hair.
She removed the scarf form her head, pulled the long pin from her knotted hair, and let it fall to the side of her neck. Ignoring the collective gasp at her blatant immodesty, she wiped her shower of tears with her hair, smearing the wet dust in an effort to clean and dry his feet. It was the most pathetic service she’d ever rendered.
These scriptural vignettes remind me that it’s ok to come to Jesus in my neediness. And it’s ok to receive God’s grace and worship the Lord for His immense mercy and goodness, exempt from anything I could ever do to deserve it. My faith doesn’t have to look “strong” and my need for him doesn’t negate my faith.
It is not always for us to know the how, the why, or the when of his work. The fact that we seek him, with questions swirling about our hearts, is evidence of the seeds of faith planted and waking up in the fertile soil of trials and trouble. He is the gardener that makes weak faith grow and calls his work remarkable.
Each story captured my attention with its illustrative prose and detail. I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels like their faith is unremarkable.
I had the privilege of receiving an advanced copy of this book and getting to know Shauna by being on her launch team. I loved hearing about the details of her research and her heart behind writing Remarkable Faith.
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This post was inspired by the book Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at the Faith of Unremarkable People by Shauna Letellier. You can learn more about the book and order at http://shaunaletellier.com/books/re….