Just Have Faith.

But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”
Mark 5:36

I have been putting off writing about this for a while, because the truth is I just don’t understand it half as well as I’d like to. I don’t understand how Jesus could tell Jairus don’t be afraid. Especially given the news Jairus had just received.

Let me set the stage…

Jesus had just arrived in Capernaum after being on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, and a large crowed had already gathered around him by the time Jairus arrived. Jairus was the leader at a local synagogue whose daughter, only 12 years old, was at home dying. Having heard that Jesus was in the area, he found the crowd and fought his way through it to reach Jesus. He then fell at his feet, pleading with him to come and lay hands on her so she might live.

Can you imagine the relief Jairus must have felt when Jesus, the man who worked miracles, agreed to go with him to his home?

But on the way there, a woman interrupted the procession by reaching out to touch Jesus’s robe. This in itself is an amazing story, but for now I want to focus on the fact that Jarius was forced to wait while this other woman took precious time away from Jesus getting to his little girl. And as he was watching Jesus speak to this woman, the terrible news he feared arrived: his daughter had died.

This is where my faith is challenged. Because Jesus didn’t weep with Jairus. He didn’t console him. He simply said, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” But the thing was…his daughter had died. She was gone. In that single moment, the fear of her death became a horrible reality.

This is where I struggle. Because I can’t help but put myself in the shoes of Jairus. What if I had gotten news that my husband died and Jesus told me, don’t be afraid. Just have faith? I feel like I’d want to slap him. My grief would be more than I could bear. How could I not be afraid? How could I possibly have faith? This is a hypothetical situation for me, but it wasn’t for Jairus. And it isn’t for many people I know. So the big question is, how can this be encouraging? How can this be what Jesus tells Jairus? How can it put to rest my own fears of the future?

I don’t know. But I do know that Jesus said it – and it was recorded for us for a reason. And I also know that Colossians 1:15 says that “[Jesus] Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.” If I believe that, and I do, I have to believe that even in the face of death and worst fears come true…we’re to trust Him.

Even though I don’t understand this and it feels like an impossible thing to ask of someone, the fact that Jesus said it means it warrants my time thinking about it and praying about it.

There is so much of God I do not understand. But I really do want to be a person who’s first instinct is to trust His word and act on it, find comfort in it, and discover His heart through it. I believe that good things lie on the other side of our obedience – especially when we obey without fully understanding.

My hope is that in the face of fear, both life threatening and none, my knee-jerk reaction will not be panic, but trust. I want my heart to be ruled by Him alone. I want his peace, which passes understanding. I want to be less like the people of the world, and more like the heroes of the bible – who took God seriously.

The bible doesn’t tell us how Jairus responded to what Jesus said. So I don’t know if he was full of faith or if he fell apart. But Jesus went to his house and healed that little girl – she lived again.

I know this isn’t the way all our stories end. How I wish it was. But I do wonder what is on the other side of our faith when we face these kind of horrifying situations. It encourages me to think about how much stock I put into what God asks of me.

This kind of soul searching and asking these kinds of questions is hard…but I think it’s well worth the undertaking.

Unchanging

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8

I’d like to start this post by giving you a little behind-the-scenes look into my writing process. You see, back in August of last year, I was praying and asking God about writing weekly. I had some great foundation-building experience earlier in the year, and I was wondering how to apply that to this blog. The idea I got was to start out by doing seventeen weeks around the topic of trusting God. From there, I did a simple Google search: Verses on trust. What you’ve been reading up until this point, and what will continue until March 18th, are devotionals I’ve written as I’ve studied seventeen of those verses.

This weeks verse has been especially helpful in my own life, as the verse, just by itself, packs a punch. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Just sit back and let that sink in.

To be honest, chapter 13 of Hebrews feels a bit over my head. Reading it makes sense, but summarizing it here for you feels like a mountain I am unable to climb. So I’d like to just say this for today,

As you pray, remember all God has done.

It makes me think about the Old Testament stories…the story Noah. Moses. Joshua. Daniel. David. God asked incredible things of these people. God worked in their lives in ways that defied logic, reason, and the very laws of nature. But those people trusted God and saw incredible things happen as a result.

That was Jesus at work.

Then in the New Testament I think about the inspiring miracles and lives of Matthew, Peter, Paul, and the other apostles.

Jesus was at work.

In recent history, I think about the testimonies of Martin Luther and Billy Graham.

Jesus again at work.

It just inspires me and grounds me into this reality: Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If Jesus did that way back then, why do I limit my belief?

My biggest takeaway from Hebrews 13:8 is that I need to remember who I’m praying to when I pray. Because lifting up payers on the fly is one thing…lifting up prayers while acknowledging it’s Jesus I’m talking to is a whole different faith experience.

So this is my encouragement: the next time you pray, pause to think about who it is you’re praying to. Who it is that’s listening to you. What he’s capable of. What he’s been through with the people of the past, and what he experienced himself as a human who lived on this earth for thirty-three whole years. It’s making a difference in the way I pray. And I bet it will for you too.

They Do Not Fear Bad News

“They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.”
Psalm 112:7

I love this verse. I just love it. It invites us to trust God on such a practical, down to earth, everyday level. It also invites us to dig deeper, because the following questions beg to be asked:

Who does not fear bad news?

Who confidently trusts that the Lord will care for them?

Because I want to be that person. I want my relationship with God to be that solid. I want to have that kind of confidence.

So how do I get there?

My study bible opens this psalm up by saying that, “God guards the minds and actions of those who follow his commands.”

So this is our first step: follow his commands.

I know this may cause you to bristle. But let’s think about this for a second. Because the more I get to know God, the more I come to know that his commands are always and only for our good. Just as a parent stops their kids from touching a hot stove to save them from getting burned, or from eating too much candy to prevent an upset stomach, or to warn them about getting into dangerous situations to keep their futures secure and their bodies safe, so the Lord does the same for us through his commands.

When news of bad things come, I want my first response to be wonder at what God is up to behind the scenes. I want to stand firm in confidence that as I follow God with all my heart, soul and mind he will guard me, guide me and protect me in ways I could never imagine.

And when the news is particularly hard, hitting so very close to home, I want my first instinct to be to turn to him with my tears of sorrow, pain, or confusion because I know he loves and cares for me. I know that in turning to him I may not find understanding, but I know I will most certainly find peace.

How joyful are those who fear the Lord
    and delight in obeying his commands.

Psalm 112:1

They do not fear bad news;
    they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

Psalm 112:7

Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.
John 14:21