The story is a familiar one to many of us. A man named Jairus comes to Jesus and pleads for the life of his daughter, who is sick and near death. Jesus agrees to help, and they set out for Jairus’ house. But along the way Jesus is delayed by his response to another need, and word comes to Jairus: “Your daughter is dead; why bother the teacher anymore?” (Mark 5:35)
“Why bother the teacher anymore?” It’s a challenging question, if you stop and think about it. After all, doesn’t there come a point when “the die is cast”? When events have run their course – and when it’s time to accept the reality of our disappointment and loss – and then move on?
Well…yes and no. Into Jairus heartache, Jesus speaks a word of hope: “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36)
In all honesty, I struggle with that statement. On the one hand, I don’t want to turn it into an “easy believism” that claims everything is going to turn out just the way we want it if only our faith is big enough. Sometimes we pray, and we don’t get the answer we were looking for. Sometimes we believe with all our hearts, and the marriage still ends…the cancer still spreads…death still comes.
But on the other hand, when we believe – when we trust that we’re in relationship with the One who is able to do “immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20) – we find that even our disappointments and heartaches get woven into the larger purposes of God. We discover “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
The story of Jairus had an exceptionally happy ending; his daughter was restored to him. But even when things don’t turn out just the way we’d choose, is it no “less happy” to discover that God is with us…that we don’t need to be afraid…and that there’s always reason for hope when we’re walking with the One who is the resurrection and the life?
May you find it possible to “just believe” today.