Faith Tried, Purified, and Perfected
Mark 2:4 - Mark 6:20
Sometimes our search to find the Savior can be complicated. We seek Him for direction and advice, searching through the maze of our everyday life to feel His Spirit. Looking back on my life, I realize that the most demanding and relentless moments of the search have done the most to teach me to treasure His companionship.
The scriptures are filled with story after story, telling of man's ongoing search to find the Lord. One of my favorites is the story of Jairus, one of the "rulers of the synagogue," whose only daughter was on the verge of death.
With no time to lose, Jairus traveled through the night, never stopping, ever searching to find the Lord. At the journey's end, the distraught man fell at the Savior's feet saying, "My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live." (Mark 5:23)
Immediately, Christ set off with the worried father. I am sure the journey toward home must have been just as nerve-wracking as the father's journey to find the Lord. Having left when his daughter was close to death, Jairus's every thought must have been consumed with the hope that his daughter would be alive when he returned. How discouraging it must have been to realize that the journey home would take him down a street thronged with people.
The crowd was dense and probably loud.
I am sure Jesus moved down the street surrounded by His disciples, determined, just as Jairus was, to arrive at His destination.
In the commotion one woman sat quietly and watched.
Suffering from an illness that had debilitated her for twelve years, she had tried all she could to relieve the suffering. Only one option remained, and so she waited. With faith prompting her actions, she reached out and touched the hem of the Savior's robe at the precise moment He stood closest to her. "For she said within herself, if I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole" (Matt. 9:21-22)
In this brief encounter, I imagine that Jairus learned a great deal. This woman had come to know the Savior and therefore had enough faith to know that He would heal her. In her illness she had tried everything she possibly could on her own to resolve the issue ––she had seen physicians, she had done all. Through the process she had reached the point where the only relief she could find would come from her faith in the Lord. In this case, "faith had to be called out, tried, purified, and so perfected...because the thing sought for was, humanly speaking, unattainable." (Alfred Edersheim)
What encouragement this must have brought to Jairus's worried heart, for he also sought healing from the Lord. It was but a small moment but one that must have had a profound effect on his faith.
The scriptures do not tell us what Jairus did while he waited.
But we do know that just after the woman was healed, a messenger arrived from Jairus's house, saing, "Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?" (Mark 5:35) What father would not be devastated after hearing that news? But "Even these dread tidings of certainty failed to destroy the man's faith; he seems to have still looked to the Lord for help." (James Talmage)
How could Jairus deny that he had just witnessed a miracle?
Perhpas what he had thought to be a detour was part of a process he needed to experience before he could exercise the faith required for his own daughter to be made whole.
Christ encouraged, "Be not afraid, only believe." (Mark 5:36)
Upon entering the home, they were met with great disbelief, even laughter, as people mocked the Lord. But Jairus's faith remained firm as he and his wife went with Jesus into their daughter's room and watched in gratitude and wonder as Jesus took their daughter's hand and said: "Damsel, I say unto thee, arise."
Imagine their amazement and joy when the young girl arose and walked. I am sure the gratitude that overwhelmed Jairus's heart must have brought him to his knees. The demanding and relentless journey had been worth it ––his precious daughter had been restored.
Both Jairus and the woman who touched Christ's robe were steadfast in one desire ––to become close enough to Christ that they could obtain the miracle they needed. Both desired a miracle that was humanly unattainable. They had come to believe that Christ could provide a healing that could not be provided in any other way.
Jairus was relentless in his search to find the Lord.
The woman who touched Christ's robe stretched until she received the miracle she longed for.
We too can cultivate a relationship with Christ by applying these same principles.
Most likely the answer will not come easily. The womand was plagued by her illness for more than twelve years before the answer came. Image how trying it must have been for Jairus when, even though he was with the Savior, his situation became worse before it got better.
No matter how long or hard the search, if it brings us closer to Christ it is worth it.
Sometimes, in that moment when my heart grasping for what once was certain is forced to reach for possibilities undefined, in that moment when I find myself turning corners with knowledge insufficient, when I feel safety falling away...
Like the woman, twelve years ill, who spent all she had, and instead of growing better, grew worse. Like Jairus who sought diligently until he found the Lord,
Isn’t that just what they did? Two separate stories. One faith filled chapter. But I find the similarity.
The willingness to reach.
For strength. For healing. For something more.
Today, I will learn from them.