In my Guns & Roses days one of my favorite songs was Patience. “Said woman take it slow, It’ll work itself out fine, all we need is just a little patience.”
Lately I’m thinking I could use a lot more than just a little patience. In the midst of building a home, anticipating moving, and being sick of a very long drive to and from work these days, I want things to hurry up and get done!
In fact I want it done yesterday. But of course there’s permits, timelines, and schedules to coordinate. There’s ordering materials, waiting for materials, and waiting for materials, and waiting for materials. There’s timing the plumber with the foundation guy, the foundation guy with the plumber and back and forth over and over again. All this getting things done sometimes looks like nothings getting done. I drove out to look at the foundation every day for a week and yep, it looked the same everytime. I certainly don’t always appreciate my husbands enthusiasm for the 3 more inches of dirt they tamped down today on top of the 3 inches of dirt they tamped down yesterday. To me it is all dirt.
Of course you know by now how God works. There I was feeling sorry for myself. I was bummed about how much longer we would have to wait before we could move in. I spent some time praying about it and asking God to move things along. I didn’t put too much effort into hoping that it actually would. In fact I was pretty sure it wouldn’t. Then I sat down to do my daily Bible reading. I’m sure you know what’s next. A God Lesson. A humbling of sorts. A little reminder story of how we should all just take a step back and remember to have a little patience.
Remember the story about the woman with the issue of blood? As I read it again I started to see it from another perspective. I’ve always related to the woman because, well, I’m a woman. I could easily imagine her plight. But this time God showed me through different eyes. Sort of like watching the replay in football from all the angles you didn’t see before.
This time I saw it from Jairus’ perspective. Jairus was a very wealthy, important, leader in a synogogue. He came to find Jesus because his young daughter was dying. As a synogogue leader this would have been an act of contention, seeking help from a heretic. As a synogogue leader Jairus would have been placing his reputation and his means to provide for his family on the line. He was a smart man, he knew the consequences he would likely suffer for what he was about to do. He didn’t care, he was desperate. He had planned the words he would say and how he would say them once he had the attention of Jesus. He had heard about Jesus, and somewhere resonating in him was enough belief that Jesus was who he said he was that Jairus was willing to lose possibly everything for the sake of saving his daughter. Jairus was hanging onto hope.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines hope this way; to want something to happen or be true and think it could happen or be true. With Jairus’ daughters life hanging by a thread, he definitely wanted the rumors he had heard to be true. But were they? Had he traveled all this way, leaving his daughters side in her last few moments of life to chase a lie? He certainly hoped not.
Jairus showed up looking for Jesus. Waiting for Jesus to return to shore. Every minute ticked slowly by with agonizing desperation. He didn’t have time to wait and yet he couldn’t risk not waiting. Overwhelmed with anxiety and fears for his daughter he waited, praying perhaps.
Finally, “Jesus is here.” Some of Jairus’ advisors and dear friends have come with him. They are here to support Jairus and legitimize the urgency of his situation. The atmosphere is solemn and charged with tension. There’s an expectation from his well meaning aristocratic brood. They understand the enormity of the risk Jairus is taking. This teacher who claims to have the power to heal the sick and is rumored to be a Great Prophet is bordering on blasphemy. Jairus support could potentially decriminalize him in the eyes of many. This is a delicate situation. Their own reputations may be in the balance as well. After all they have invested interests in Jairus political career. They believe he will conduct himself in a traditional manner, requesting the assistance of Jesus as if conducting a business agreement.
They have managed to break through the crowd and address the rumored prophet. “Jesus, may we speak with you a moment? This is a matter of urgency.”
“What is it brothers?” Jesus asks recognizing the grave demeanor.
“Jairus would like a word, something of a private nature.”
However Jairus has made his way to Jesus and pushes his good friend aside. He falls humbly at the feet of Jesus. His friends and business associates watch speechless.
“Please, please, come with me. I beg you heal my daughter.” His voice breaks. His shoulders heave as the pent up emotions defy him. He can no longer control his body. He is sobbing. His heart is broken and he can no longer bare the thought of losing his child.
What a scene this must have made as crowds had been there awaiting Jesus’ return. Here was a man of prestige who seemingly had it all. He was bowed down, heartbroken and whimpering at the feet of Jesus. Oh, how I have been there. That line of sanity and insanity completely blurred. Hoping while hopeless.
Placing his hand on Jairus shoulder with all the compassion of a Savior, Jesus replied, “Take me there.”
Jairus looking up into the eyes of Jesus has no idea that he has just been made a living example of a man losing his life to follow Christ. Wiping his face in his hands and somewhat embarrassed Jairus stands. “This way,” he motions for Jesus to follow as he tries to regain his composure.
Jesus and Jairus are on the move. Crowds are pressing into them. It is difficult to navigate through. People are grabbing and touching Jesus. Everyone wants to be near him. Jairus has only one thing on his mind, his daughter. He hardly notices the crowd as he is reflecting on the sorrow he carries for the times not spent with his precious baby. What am I doing? Am I crazy? Jairus thinks to himself. I should be by her side right now. Maybe I shouldn’t have come here. Maybe they’re right, maybe this is a waste of time. Why didn’t I come on horseback? God give me a sign. Why didn’t I pay more attention to her? Why did I spend all my time at the synagogue when there were times I didn’t have to go. But because of my own ego…
“Who touched me?” He hears Jesus say.
Jesus has stopped and is looking around. Those around him are bewildered, shrugging and shaking their heads in denial. “Master,” Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples says, “The whole crowd is pressing up against you.”
“Someone deliberately touched me, I felt healing power go out of me.” Jesus says while his eyes search the crowd. There is murmuring all around. Jairus is numb with grief, he is not thinking clearly and is caught off guard by the moment. A women pushes past Jairus and bows at Jesus’ feet keeping her eyes to the ground. She is visibly shaking.
“Jairus, we don’t have time for this. We need to go now.” His friend whispers a reminder to him. But Jairus can’t bring himself to move as he watches Jesus lay his hand on the woman’s shoulder and look into her eyes with the same compassionate look he had given Jairus moments before. The woman stands and although she is shaking and she looks tired he can’t help but notice she is smiling. She begins explaining herself. She tells about 12 years of suffering. Twelve. Is this a coincidence? Twelve years she bled. Twelve years she went searching for doctors and spent all she had, and in the very instant she touched Jesus’ garment she was healed. Jairus is amazed. He can’t believe it, yet he does. Twelve. He knows this is no coincidence. This is Gods work. This is his confirmation. His sign. Jairus has just gone from hope to faith.
“Daughter, your faith has healed you go in peace.” Jesus dismisses her. She obediently nods and backs away.
Daughter? Another confirmation, Jairus thinks. Jesus turns back to Jairus. “Let’s go.” he says placing his hand on Jairus shoulder and catching his gaze. Jairus knows now that his daughter is about to be healed. He knows in his heart and he knows that Jesus knows he knows. All that self talk he was doing earlier is gone. No more doubt. Jairus has a secret in his heart, faith. Nothing can steal it from him.
“Jairus!” He recognizes the voice. A relative from his house. “Jairus, your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” The mans tone sounds defeated.
Jesus looks into Jairus’ eyes, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith and she will be healed.”
In that moment Jairus had a choice. He could allow the things this man said to him put doubt, worry, and fear in his mind again or he could stay in faith. He had already seen compassion, he had witnessed a miracle testimony first hand, and he knew in his heart these things were not mere coincidence. Twelve. It was the amount of time that daughter had endured her suffering to be healed at the exact moment Jairus twelve year old daughter lay dying. No this was no coincidence. Patience was what Jairus needed to have. Patience like the woman. Patience for the time it would take to finish their journey and patience for Jesus to heal his daughter in Gods timing.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines faith this way; a strong belief or trust in someone or something. Jairus went from hoping Jesus could heal his daughter to believing Jesus would heal his daughter. The only thing left for Jairus to do was have a little patience. Spoiler alert. Jesus healed Jairus daughter. But first, Jairus had to wait for Jesus to come back to shore. He had to wait for Jesus to listen to the woman with the issue of blood, and endure the wait of the journey home. When he got home he had to wait for Jesus to empty the house. And finally he had to wait for Jesus to heal her.
So what did I learn? That patience and faith go hand in hand. If you’re having faith for something, you need to have patience too. Jairus could have ridden horses home but he would have missed the encouraging, faith-building miracle of the woman with the issue of blood. He would have missed the confirmation, the confidence that God will handle it. He would have missed the reassurance that God placed in his heart keeping him from unnecessary worry and fear. In the end God delivers in his time not ours.
Romans 12:12 NIV Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.