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This week, we read about Jairus and his daughter. Jairus was a leader in the synagogue whose twelve year old daughter was dying. Jairus finds Jesus and pleads with Him to come and heal her. Jesus agrees, and they are off. Unfortunately, they’re having to find their way through a large crowd and Christ also takes some time to minister to another woman along the way. While Christ is speaking with this woman, a servant of Jairus comes and tells his master to leave Christ alone; the daughter has died.
I want to highlight what the servant of Jairus said specifically.
Mark 5:35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?
In verse 36, Jesus pretty quickly tells Jairus that he doesn’t have to fear, but I want to zero in on the moment when Jairus was told not to trouble the Master anymore. It seems as though Christ jumped in pretty quickly to comfort Jairus, but let’s pretend that He was too busy ministering to the other lady to have heard the servant immediately.
How would Jairus feel at that pivotal moment?
“She can’t be healed…What if I had gone to Jesus sooner? What if the crowd had abated just a little so we could get through? What if He hadn’t stopped to talk to the other lady? Did He even really need to stop for her?”
Is that what he felt? Has the time for his miracle passed?
Because we are not in that overwhelming, blinding moment of pain, it is easy for us to yell out, “Jairus! It is never too late for a miracle!” It’s easy for us to know that death is nothing for Christ. It’s easy for us to see that Christ can take as long as He wants; the miracle will come soon enough and all will be well. It’s easy for us to see how beautiful it is that Christ stopped to talk to the other lady and that it didn’t have to be at the expense of Jairus.
But for some reason, it’s not easy to see it in our own lives. In our own lives, it is far too easy to feel like the miracle isn’t coming, that it didn’t happen, that we missed out. Let’s look at Jairus’ story to learn a little bit more. I want to focus on two principles:
- Jairus (or at least his servant) had only believed that the miracle could happen in one way.
- It might have been more convenient if Jairus’ daughter had been healed before she died, but the miracle came nonetheless.
Just one way
When the servant came to deliver the news that the daughter was already dead, he told Jairus not to trouble the Master any further because he didn’t yet know there was more than one way for the miracle to come. The servant didn’t realize that there was an infinite amount of possibilities. He didn’t have enough vision yet to understand that there are multiple ways that Christ can make due on His promises.
So what does this look like for us?
I know I use a lot of financial examples, but I like financial examples because they’re so concrete and easy to see. One of Christ’s promises is that He will take care of us.
Let’s say you have a job that requires you to move around a lot. You have felt guided to this job by the Lord, and you feel like it’s what He wants you doing. Your last move occurred when the housing market was crazy and everything was skyrocketing, but the Lord pulled through and helped you get a house that was perfect for your family. Time moved on and now the company is ready for you to move again. Unfortunately, this company wants you to move at a time when housing values are super low. Your house has dropped tens of thousands of dollars in value, and you’re worried that you won’t be able to sell it for what you need. Hopefully you can sell it for more than you owe; you need the money to buy your next house.
As a family, you all pray that you can sell the house for enough money that you can get another house where you move.
Unfortunately, the time comes, your company is ready for you to move, and nobody is buying your house. You have to lower the price significantly.
Unbeknownst to you, there is another family that is pleading with the Lord to help them find an affordable house that fits their family for their own equally valid reasons. They find themselves in tears when they see that the price on your house has dropped significantly and they can qualify for it.
One principle we can learn is that the Lord has to watch out for all of His children at the same time, and He doesn’t tend to be the kind of Father that simply fills all of our bank accounts with money. However, the cool part is that this story doesn’t end there. The Lord doesn’t have to bless one child at the expense of another, just like with the sick woman and Jairus’ daughter.
Perhaps your house did not sell “adequately;” you didn’t receive the miracle you had in mind. But that doesn’t mean He can’t find you a house that you can afford where you’re headed and give you a miracle on the other end.
Sometimes we get pretty caught up and desperately pray for the miracle we think we need. We get tunnel vision about what the miracle should be. The servant of Jairus didn’t realize that you could also ask the Lord for a miracle that achieves the same ends even if it looks different from your original plan. So the practical advice is this: pray in the way the Lord wants us to pray. That means a lot of listening. He can guide you to pray for the miracle He is willing to send. He can help you see the miracle even if it wasn’t what you were expecting. Are you praying for the wrong miracle?
Eyes to see the miracle
I want you to imagine a ridiculous scenario for a second.
Christ heals Jairus’ daughter after she dies, and then lets pretend that Jairus is still upset. Let’s pretend that Jairus is upset because Jesus let her die before He came to rescue her. If He is all-powerful and can do anything, why didn’t He simply heal her from far away before she even died? Now Jairus has to pay all the professional mourners who showed up.
We all know that this is ridiculous. As we pretend this scenario occurred, we all scoff at Jairus for being so ridiculous.
Unfortunately, we can often be guilty of this very thing (though to our credit, it’s on a smaller scale).
I’m going to use the widow of Zarephath as an example because I adore her story.
The widow of Zarephath is promised that if she will feed Elijah first, her food won’t ever run out. As the widow wakes in the morning, she goes to her barrel and there’s just enough for one more cake. She dresses it, they eat, and she goes on about her day. When they’re hungry again the next morning, she goes to the barrel, and there’s just enough for one more cake.
The widow of Zarephath grumbles, “Elijah said my food would never run out, but here we are today and my barrel is just as empty as it was yesterday.”
Sometimes we have this idea of what our miracle should look like and if it doesn’t happen how we envision, we don’t believe the miracle occurred.
If we go back to our house example, let’s say you sell the house and move to the next place. Unfortunately, because you sold the house for less, you’re forced to rent a house for your family. For a long time, this bothers you. Where was the miracle you prayed for? And because the miracle didn’t come how you pictured, you spend a whole lot of time upset and blind to the fact that the Lord gave you what you asked for: a safe home for your family.
Maybe renting wasn’t what you had in mind, but the Lord provided and continues to provide. The whole earth is His anyway, and He has far more incredible blessings in store. In fact, He has promised you to have all that He has if you’re faithful so let’s not get too caught up in mortal details. Open your eyes to all the miracles He is providing around you already.
One more application
I want to look at this story in one other light.
I feel like we’ve reached a time in history when a large percentage of us have had loved ones leave the church. When it first dawns on us that our loved one has one foot out the door, it may bring on a flood of feelings. We might find ourselves down on our knees for a long time, pleading and pleading for their heart to be softened. We may pray for them to see wisdom. We may even pray for an Alma the Younger experience for them. Maybe we wonder if we should have intervened earlier. Maybe we should have pleaded for His help earlier. We plead and plead and plead, and our hopes are dashed and hearts are broken when we simply resign ourselves that maybe we were too late: our loved one has decided to leave.
Maybe we have reached the same conclusion as the servant. The miracle didn’t come in the way or time that we pictured it so it must not be coming.
Jesus had been told that Jairus’ daughter was dying; He knew, but He lingered anyway. In some ways, you might even argue that He allowed her to die before healing her. When a loved one leaves the church, it might be easy to believe that it’s the end. However, sometimes it is exactly the road that needs to be taken so they can truly learn the truth. Sometimes that step away is part of their specific repentance process that they need in order to truly come to Christ. Maybe the tragedy you see is actually the miracle. Or maybe there are lots of miracles occurring all along their path because they are doing precisely what they came to earth to do: learn. Imagine what Jairus learned through this experience. Imagine what his daughter learned. Listen to the advice given by the Lord to Jairus: Be not afraid. Only believe.
The Lord knows what He is doing. He isn’t stressed. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t ache; it probably does ache if you love them. However, ache and belief can coexist. Trust His abilities and spend your time praying for the things He wants you to pray for. Stop trying to force a miracle that isn’t in your best interest. Today, that might mean praying that they feel your love and acceptance (or praying for help to love and respect their choices). Tomorrow it may mean praying for them to learn the right lessons from the tough experiences. Listen so He can guide you as you pray for miracles.