“Reading all the healing stories together, I now detect in the gospels a kind of ‘ladder of faith.’ At the top of the ladder stand those people who impressed Jesus with bold, unshakable faith: a centurion, an impertinent blind beggar, a persistant Caananite woman. These stories of gristly faith threaten me, because seldom do I have such faith. I am easily discouraged by the silence of God. When my prayers are not answered I am tempted to give up and not ask again. For this reason I look down the ladder and find people of lesser faith, and it heartens me to learn that Jesus seemed willing to work with whatever tiny glimpses of faith came to light. I cling to the tender accounts of how Jesus treated the disciples who forsook and then doubted him. The same Jesus who praised the faith of those high up the ladder also gently quickened the flagging faith of his disciples. And I take special comfort in the confession of the father of a demon possesed boy, who said to Jesus, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ Even that wavering man got his request granted.” (>>)