Of all the things that burden us and weigh on our souls, sickness and suffering in the lives of those we love is likely at the top of the list. Is there any greater trial than to observe a loved one in pain and yet be entirely helpless to bring them relief and rest? Though we do all that we can to comfort and console, we reach a point of exhaustion, desperation, and helplessness. This is exactly the sort of person Jesus encounters in Mark chapter 5.
Jairus, we are told, was “one of the rulers of the synagogue,” clearly a man of personal means and great influence. When his daughter fell gravely ill, he certainly would have secured for her the best care in the entire region, sparing no expense. Yet in spite of this, we find him begging and pleading with the Lord Jesus for his daughter to be made well. He was, as we say, at the end of his rope.
As the story unfolds, we see the situation go from bad to worse as the last light of hope goes out, with word reaching the man that his daughter had already died. In light of this tragic news, as the messengers say, “why bother the teacher anymore?” When all hope is lost, why continue to pursue Jesus? Jesus’ response to this question invites us deeper into the mystery of God’s love, nature, and power.
To follow Jesus is to believe that there is never a time, moment, or situation in which all hope is lost. Even when staring death in the face, we must learn to hear the words of Jesus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” We must remember that we serve a God who is Lord of heaven and earth, in whose hand “is the life of every living thing.” (see Job 12:10) We must believe that the God who defeated death on the cross is powerful enough to bring hope and healing to the darkest and most painful moments of life, even when all hope seems to be lost.
Do we seek Jesus in prayer only for the things that seem likely to be answered, or are you and I willing to learn from this story and continue to open ourselves up to God’s plan and power even when it is beyond what we can see or understand?
Take whatever weighs heavy on your heart today to the Lord in prayer, and find comfort and peace for your soul. Do not be afraid. The Lord is with you and will never abandon you, and in light of the resurrection we know that a day is coming when all shall be made well. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus