September 29, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
The good news for us today comes from Mark 5:21-24.
When Jesus had crossed again [in the boat] to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
This is just the first part of the story. We will read about the hemorrhagic woman who touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed before we get to the ending of the story of Jairus’ daughter. In Matthew and Luke she is already dead when Jairus first approaches Jesus, though.
We don’t know, but in all likelihood Jairus would under ordinary circumstances would not have sought out Jesus or acknowledged his authority. Jesus was no longer welcome in the synagogues; he repeatedly challenged Jewish authorities; and he was stirring up the populace encouraging them to think for themselves and question ridiculous religious laws and regulations. Jesus was not a man that Jairus in his position would likely welcome, let alone approach.
Desperation changes the calculus, though. It sweeps away my arrogant confidence that I am self-sufficient, that I am in control, that I can make happen what I want. Like Jairus I have painfully realized at times that I am powerless and in desperation have turned to God to save me, to change my situation, or to effect some miracle. Even when I do turn to God, though, it is often in the way Jairus does here. I used to ask for the outcome that I wanted and was often disappointed that He didn’t perform a miracle for me. I thought I just wasn’t asking in the right way or wasn’t worthy enough.
I have come to a point, though, of not asking for a change in external circumstances over which I have no control or influence to asking for a change within myself — the only thing I can change with God’s help. I ask for strength to face reality; I ask for peace in accepting that reality; and I ask for wisdom to discern how that reality can be used to depend my faith and trust in God’s love for me and for those who are affected. It requires me to surrender just as Jairus surrendered any bias, judgment or animosity he may have held about Jesus.
I’m trying to get to the point of surrender every day, not just when I am desperate, times when I have no other options. It doesn’t come instinctively or easily for me. The fact that it comes at all, though, is encouraging and helps me arrive at the point of surrender more often and with less resistance. At least I think so; it feels that way. The peace of Christ is precious to me more and more and I more readily look for ways to attain it. It always requires me to surrender.