October 2 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
The good news today aside from the rain comes from Mark 5:35-43 – the rest of the story about Jairus’ daughter.
While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” They girl of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.” How many times does Jesus tell me that in scripture and in prayer? Why is it that I am so plagued by fear? It must be the same for most of us.
Jesus is telling me to have faith not in the fulfillment of my own wishes but faith in his unending love and compassion no matter what. In sickness, in death, in suffering grief, through all the pangs of living Jesus stands with me in his compassion and through the demonstration of his love. That is the faith that he offers, faith that will overcome all my fears. And with that faith enters hope in the resurrection.
I have a long list of things I fear — things as terrifying as suffocation to the dread of rejection and abandonment. Sadly, because it leads to disappointment, I cannot rely on anyone to keep these things I fear from happening. Jesus, the personification of God’s love and compassion for me, is the only one who will be with me no matter what. That’s why he tells me not to be afraid. He’s right there with me to help me withstand it all even death.
There’s something else here that stands out for me probably because I’m just finishing a book by Gary Chapman entitled The Five Love Languages. It is about the fulfillment of our emotional needs. My primary need is physical touch. In this story Jesus touches the girl, takes her hand, and brings her to life. In so many of the stories of healing and resurrection Jesus touches the one afflicted. It was the way he demonstrated his compassion and healing love. He was very physical and intimate. Jesus taught in his every word and action and teaches me even now. I am meant to touch and be touched; it is the way intimacy is created for me and physically demonstrates compassion and love. It brings me to life, resurrects my spirit that has descended into death or lapsed into sleep. It is the way I am fed.
There are so many ways that I can be independent, take care of myself, meet my own needs. Independent even of God. However, touch is the one thing that only another person can give to me. Jesus uses others to touch me, to create intimacy, to let me know that I am loved. Certainly, the experience of it is focused on the one who loves me, but it transcends it at the same time. It creates intimacy for me with Jesus as well. It is one of the ways in which he gives me the gift of peace, the happiness and contentment that he wants me to experience. It’s an experience I want over and over. For me it is as important as life itself because it assures me that I am loved. That’s what Jesus is trying to get me to understand every day — He loves me no matter what. That’s also what he wants me to do for others — assure them that I love them no matter what.