The Bible is full of people waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled, but my mind has wandered to a story in which two people had to wait – one for years, the other for precious moments. And Jesus’ words to each of them should bring hope to all of us who wait for promises to be fulfilled.
Jairus, a leader in a synagogue, had come to ask Jesus to pray for his 12-year old daughter, who was dying. Luke 8:41 says that Jairus “implored” Jesus to come – pleaded, begged – for he obviously dearly loved his daughter. Jesus agreed to come, but as they were on their way, there was a delay due to another person seeking healing – a woman who had had a hemorrhage for 12 years. You may know the story. She touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed and Jesus stopped to find out who had touched Him. Jesus’ words to her are full of compassion: “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace” (8:48). It’s faith in Him that Jesus looks for in those who need help, and after 12 years of illness, this woman still found room in her heart for faith in God. May Fiona and I never lose that!
But how heart-breaking it must have been for Jairus to have stood there, helplessly watching Jesus delaying in order to help someone else, and then to have received the news that it was too late. His daughter had died. What a crushing disappointment. How alone he must have felt amidst the crowd on that dusty road. And surely this man had no faith left to bother Jesus any further.
It was over a year ago when Fiona and I got the news that Fiona’s kidneys had failed. It was too late. Jesus hadn’t come soon enough. I was surprised at how hard it was in 2007 to process that disappointment. It was a struggle even to reach out as if to touch Jesus’ cloak. And now we’ve just found out that they’ve gotten even worse! But I expect Jesus’ words to us might be very similar to what He said to Jairus: “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well” (8:50). The news of that little girl’s death didn’t rattle Jesus, leaving Him sorry He hadn’t hurried or that Jairus hadn’t come to Him sooner. And Jesus didn’t dismiss this man, whose faith was now deflated, and who had nothing left to come to Jesus with. Jesus’ response to the bad news was, “Don’t fear – only believe.” His counsel to Fiona and I: Don’t fear – only believe. Jesus wants us to know that whatever happens, whatever God’s timing, whatever His will, we need not fear, and we can trust Him. Don’t try to rush the Lord, don’t run away, don’t despair. Only believe. That doesn’t leave me too many options to confuse me. Simple instructions for tough circumstances: Do not fear – only believe. And then let God be God as He unfolds His plan in each situation.
I thank God for what Keith heard God say at such a crucial time. God is on His way. Do not fear – only believe.
© 2008 by Ken Peters
© 2008 by Ken Peters