While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.” ~Luke 8:49
So I recently read this story from Luke 8 to my kids. The story is in the midst of a very busy chapter. In Luke 8, Jesus tells the parable of the sower, and the lamp on the stand. Then he gets a visit from his mother and brothers, after that he calms the storm on the lake (no big deal), and heals a demon-possessed man. And still Luke 8 is NOT finished yet.
Do you begin to get the sense of what Jesus’ ministry was like at this point in the story?
When I read the last story in Luke 8, I had to pause. It’s the story of a father, desperate to save his daughter. I’m a mother; I can sympathize with those feelings. So this father runs to get Jesus, and they are trying to hurry back to his house before it is too late. And meanwhile the crowds are crushing Jesus. They want some of this Jesus too. I’m sure if I was that father, I would be shoving back and (probably) yelling for people to get out of the way. I can almost feel his anxiety, his desire to hurry- hurry!
And then Jesus stops and is like, “Someone touched me.” And all the disciples (and I’m sure this father too) are like, “Of course someone touched you! You’re in a huge crowd of people and they are pressing up against you!”
Now at this point in the story, I have always focused on the woman who believed that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ robe, she would be healed. The woman who was not supposed to be in the midst of that crowd- if she was bleeding (for 12 years) she had been “unclean” for twelve years. Unable to attend church, to be in society, to be touched… Yet she risks all just to touch Jesus.
That’s a great story of faith.
However, this time while I read the story, I remembered the father. Standing there, probably fidgeting with anxiety and worry. I hate to say it, but if my child was next to death’s door, I would not have cared at all about some random woman in the street. I would have probably thrown Jesus over my shoulder at this point and started running.
But in all the anxiety and worry, in the business and the crowd, Jesus is not anxious. Jesus is not rushed, or panicked. Instead Jesus makes time for the moment he is in. He probably got up extra early that morning and had spent time with God. And more than anything, during his time with God, he had probably been filled up with all those good things that come from God- peace, joy, love, and (dare I say it) PATIENCE! Jesus did not need to rush to the next thing, he did not have to rush to the rescue- because he fully trusted in God, and God’s timing, and God’s plan.
For the first time, as I read this story, I heard the words in Luke 8:49, and felt my heart break along with that father’s heart. “Your daughter is dead. Don’t bother the teacher anymore.” What hopelessness the world can bring us. What utter defeat. What heartbreak.
And what is Jesus’ response to these words that must have shattered that father’s heart?
“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
If I were the father in this story, I wonder how I would have reacted? Would I have been angry at the crowd? At the sick woman? At Jesus for not hurrying, for not meeting my time table? Or would those words have caused those shattered pieces of my heart to start to join together again? Would the look in Jesus’ eyes have filled me anew with hope?
This story hit me because of the business. I confess- I’ve been sucked in yet again! We are told to run, run, run! Strive harder, do better, be more! Almost daily I feel the old lie creeping in: You aren’t enough! And I become afraid that those words are true. That I am not enough, that I am unworthy. And so I run around trying to prove myself worth. I worry, and I work, and I worry, and I become so busy…
And Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe”
And, of course, since this is Jesus we’re talking about- that little girl lives. She lives! He raises the dead to life! And I think this story might be hard for parents with sick children. But I hope you can let Jesus’ words raise your heart back to life. There is no fear in Christ. There is love, hope, joy, and peace! And yes, His answers to our prayers don’t always look like what we think is best. But we do not need to believe the lies, we do not need to be afraid, and we do not need to run on ahead in our own strength- striving to prove we are able or worthy.
I want to be more like Jesus in about a million and two ways, but this story highlights for me the need to be in this moment. This moment. It will not come again. I have this day with my children as they are. They are growing and changing. The world around us is always changing, but we have one constant hope that we can hold on to. One rock that we can cling to. One life preserving raft that will not sink or fail.
We can believe in Jesus. And then we can be brave.*
Lord, sorry for believing the lies of this world. Sorry that I have not trusted in your love, in your ability to see me. Help me to turn my eyes again back to You. Increase my faith, like the woman who was willing to risk all just to touch your robe. Bless me to be the kind of parent who enjoys this moment I have with my children. And bless and protect our family, point our feet towards you and help us to walk forward bravely and in faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
*when I looked up an antonym for afraid, I was given the word brave. So if the opposite of being afraid, is being brave- if, when we believe in Jesus, we were to become brave– what would that look like?