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A Journey of Faith

28 December, 2015


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The best stories create a sense of wonder, hope, and magic in our hearts. And every good story begins much the same way, the main character is spurred into action by a crisis and embarks on a life changing journey full of obstacles and defeat leading up to the climax when any chance for success seems lost, but just as the dark closes in, hope springs up from the ashes of our story, light miraculously overpowers the darkness, victory is won, and “they all live happily ever after.” There is something in the human heart that chases stories, that longs to be enraptured by the mysterious plot, magical elements, and the miraculous outcomes. The greatest storyteller is the one who lived the greatest story ever told and in every story since there is the same strand of truth. Broken people who act in bold faith move the Creator of the Universe to do the impossible.

 

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            One thing is very clear throughout the Bible. God is all. He is the focus, pursuit, heart, life, source, truth, beginning and end. The scriptures can teach much about humanity, morality, and life itself, but it all means nothing if God is not at the center. The bold faith that Jairus demonstrates throughout this story has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with Christ. Bold faith is founded in who Christ is, not in the person believing, and not in the outcome. Jairus wanted Christ to heal his daughter, the woman with the issue of blood wanted Christ to heal her illness, but if He had chosen not to meet their need in the way they wanted, He would not have ceased to be good and He would not have ceased to be God. Everything that He does is for His glory and for our good. That is His character. That can always be trusted. He is the object of our faith. When Jairus chose to seek out Christ, he already knew who He was. He had heard of Jesus, the Master. He knew of the miracles He had performed, and how could he not. The whole country was talking about this Jesus of Nazareth. He was turning the place upside down, and Jairus wanted in on some of that power. Jairus was a man of power and prestige in the synagogue. When his daughter became ill, he probably hired every physician he could, asked people to gather and pray, paid any price for the medication she needed, expended all of his resources, and still kept trying to find a cure. He didn’t care about lifestyle, prestige, or pride. He was consumed by the need to save his little girl’s life. Imagine this man, sitting by the bedside of his twelve year old daughter. Maybe he hasn’t eaten for days, he can’t sleep, he’s cried every tear inside of him and probably is bearing the burden of watching his wife suffer through the same pain. He is tired, weak, helpless, and he doesn’t know where to turn. What is it that compelled him to leave his daughter on her deathbed and his wife by her side? What moved this man to such a bold action? The hope, the faith that if he could just get to Jesus, He would see the need of his heart and come heal his daughter. He knew that Jesus could do it. It was just a matter of whether or not he could get to Him in time. (As a side note, the beauty is that in God’s sovereignty Jesus was in just the right place at the exact time He needed to be there in order to fulfill the need for the glory of God.) Walking, seeking, hoping, praying, Jairus comes to Jesus, and when he sees him, he acts boldly once again. He falls at the feet of Jesus, tells Him what his need is and begs Him to come believing that Jesus is the only one who can heal his brokenness. This plea is raw, relentless, aching, and begging for relief. It’s the plea of every man when he first comes into contact with the saving power of Jesus. And Jesus always grants that plea. He immediately goes with him. And so Jairus, a broken sinner, embarks on a journey of faith with Jesus. Bold faith always begins and ends with Christ. However, the journey of bold faith isn’t always simple or easy.

 

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Here Jairus is, walking down the road to his house with the Master, on their way to heal his daughter and to finally end this nightmare. Everything is looking up. Everything is on schedule. The promise of relief is in sight when suddenly all of Jairus’ plans are interrupted. Reading through the story in the book of Mark, we already know what that interruption was and perhaps can see how perfectly it fits into the overall manifestation of God’s power in this passage, but perhaps forget that Jairus has only one burning pressing matter on his heart, and this interruption might seem like a hopeless defeat in his eyes. What should a believer do when he feels like God made a mistake, maybe He isn’t fulfilling His promise and meeting the need? Hold on, because there is always more going on then what we can see from a human perspective. God sees it all. C.S. Lewis said it this way:

 

“God is not hurried along in the time stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world.” [Lewis, C.S., Mere Christiany, 131]

 

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 On the other side of this story, sits a woman who, the Bible says, had an issue of blood for twelve years. She had suffered much, given everything she had, tried everything she could only to become more broken and helpless. Her desperation must have been exhausting, but once again God shows that the brokenness of her heart and spirit drives her to bold faith which then leads her to bold action. In Mark 5:27,28 the Bible says,

“When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.” She heard His name. She heard about His miracles, and in faith, she came to Him, pressing through the crowd, catching glimpses of Him as he walked by, unaware of Jairus and the mission they were on. She reached out, and touched His clothes, and immediately all of the years of pain, all of the sleepless nights, all of the moments when she asked why and begged for mercy and healing were over. She was whole and made new, and as she sat in her amazement, she heard a voice calling for her. “Who touched my clothes?” Jesus asks. What a strange question. First of all, He knew who touched Him. He knew before she even decided to come to Him. He was aware of her need, but He wanted her to come a little further. Why? First, because He wanted her to know that He cared deeply, that His heart was for her. Second, He wanted to acknowledge her faith, her redemption, and her healing for the benefit of this woman, the disciples, and also Jairus. He knew that Jairus was about to receive some very daunting news, his faith might be shaken and Jesus wanted to remind him of His power and His love one more time. Something interesting to note here is that it wasn’t the woman who caused the delay. It was Jesus. He stopped and turned around, looked for her, asked for her, and then addressed her.

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Though often these two events are talked about as separate issues, they are intertwined in every way. Both of the people were broken. They both had a desperate need. They both sought out Jesus fervently and with bold faith in who He is. They both fell at the feet of their Savior that day, and they were both a part of God’s master plan. Both of their accounts are an emotional journey of faith. Though they both believed before they reached out and experienced God, they had no idea what the outcome would be. They were hoping for the best, but their faith was in what they knew to be true about Jesus. Some might say that Jairus was more bold in His faith because he sought Jesus out and asked him directly to meet his need, and the woman seemed more shy and afraid. However, perhaps it could be said that the woman’s faith was more bold because whereas Jairus asked Jesus to go all the way with him to his house when He could have just spoken the word and his daughter would have been healed, the woman knew that if she could just touch him, she would be healed. Also, Jairus needed a little help maintaining his faith, but this woman needed none. She took the risk trusting the Master’s heart to meet her need even if He never saw her face or heard her voice. It’s useless to debate over who has greater faith or who received the greatest reward. The point is that both of these broken people, met with overwhelming odds, moved with bold faith to the feet of Jesus and had their needs miraculously met.

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On this journey of faith that Jairus was now on, another heart-wrenching, and fatal obstacle obstructed the path to the freedom he had been promised. Just at the closing of this interruption with the woman who had been healed, some people come up from his house to tell him that it’s too late, his daughter had died, and there was no point in bothering the Master any longer. This journey had been full of some pretty powerful things up to this point like bold faith, bold action, miraculous healing, powerful words, deep grace and life-changing love. Then there comes this moment, where everything is stilled and darkness comes crashing in suddenly. Hope is lost. Jairus had diligently sought Jesus in bold faith. Where was the redemption and the peace that Jesus had just extended to the woman who so gently touched Him? Did Jairus not deserve that same reward? Jesus had brought Jairus to this place in his faith journey. And now in his emotional state, two paths stretch out before him. One, to kindly thank Jesus for his time and try to understand why He wasn’t concerned enough to be on time to meet his need, or two, to trust His sovereign hand, trust His heart, look at His healing of the woman that He had just called “Daughter” and see it as affirmation of His promise and power and then step out one more time in bold faith on this journey with the one he called Master. Luckily, he didn’t have too much time to think about it before Jesus calmly said, “Be not afraid, only believe,” and continued walking toward the house where his daughter’s body lay. His words were simple, almost too simple, but the meaning behind them was powerful. Jesus then led Jairus into the mourning, the heartache where all of his fears were verified. Jesus broke him to the point where he had to wonder how this was all going to end.

As always, Jesus moved with compassion through a crowd of heart broken people saying, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleepeth.” Unfortunately they missed the point. Hope, redemption, freedom from the brokenness they were tortured by, literally walked right in front of them, spoke to them, and possibly even touched some of them. But instead of asking for help, or seeking healing in His touch, they laughed Him to scorn. Some of them surely knew that Jairus had gone to get Jesus, the healer, and possibly even believed that he would heal her…while she was still alive at least. There is a finality in death and the experience of it from a human perspective limited their faith, where Jairus saw past human perspective to the sovereign will of God. Charles Swindoll writes:

 

 

The will of God is paramount, respect it. God’s will is sometimes difficult to understand from our limited, earth-bound perpective. It is even more difficult to accept when it involves great suffering. Even as we pray, we must remember that God is right in all His ways, including our afflictions. However, our suffering is deeply felt by Him, and for those who are His, all sufferings will become the means by which he brings greater blessing later (Romans 8:26-28; 1 Peter 5:10) [Swindoll, Charles, Jesus:The Greatest Life Of All, pg137]

 

 

 

Jesus clears the area of these unbelievers and only brings with him Peter, James, John, Jairus and his wife. He walks over to where the girl is lying, slips his capable hands around her lifeless one, and says to her “I say unto thee arise.” Immediately she gets up and walks. Everyone is left in amazement. This journey with so many thrills and chills has led them to see the reward of bold and unapologetic faith, a faith that moves the Creator of the Universe to do the impossible.

 

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            “Sometimes while dealing with the Savior the storm gets darker than before, we cry for pardon and feel a growing sense of guilt….We hope for deliverance and our difficulties multiply.”[Biblical Illustrator] The first application is that a lot of the time, God wants to bring us to a place where we are broken and completely at the end of ourselves, to teach us how to depend only on Him. When the sky grows black, the waves beat us, and the fear and heartbreak overtake us, that is when we can call out to the Savior with the most sincerity, no assurance of what is to come, and lean into who He is and know the essence of the only truth that stands through every storm. Bold faith is founded in Christ, in His character in His heart. The outcomes will change. They will be good or bad or whatever. At the end of the day, He is always for you and working things together for good and for His glory. True faith begins when, like Peter, we get our eyes off of the circumstances around us that seem overwhelming and see Jesus. He is the source, essence, and reward of our faith. That is enough. Also, bold faith will always move broken people to bold action. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldy unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

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Jairus and the woman in this account boldly sought out Christ, and boldly sought healing and mercy and received their reward. They fell at the feet of Jesus, and there is no better place for anyone to be. Finally, bold faith moves the heart of Christ to make the impossible possible. Christ always moves with compassion throughout His ministry on earth. He feels when our heart breaks. He understands our tears. In fact, He keep every tear we have cried. He wants us to come to Him lay all of our brokenness and desperation before Him so that He can heal us. The problem is our lack of faith. Perhaps our lack of faith comes from not knowing Him well enough to know who He is and what He has promised us. In Luke 13:33 Jesus says, “How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Let’s not be among those whose faith was limited by their own human perspective, those who mocked when they could have been healed, those who couldn’t see the Hope that walked in front of them and spoke with them. Charles Swindoll said, “God became one of us, and now we have an advocate. We now have hope to carry us through and beyond our afflictions. That hope can transform our mind-set. Because of Jesus, we can view life as a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” [Swindoll, Charles, Jesus:The Greatest Life Of All, 109]But let us be bold in faith, that we may see Jesus do the impossible in, through, and around us. And let us always be reminded that “nothing is impossible with God.”( KJV, Luke1:37)

 

 

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