One never knows when tragedy will strike; it usually arrives without warning. 20 years ago, I was at work on a slow, rainy day, staring out the window at a parade of first responder vehicles racing down the highway. Little did I know they were headed toward an auto accident six miles down the road, one in which my wife had been hit head-on.
Jairus had no warning when tragedy struck his house (Mark 5). He was a man of some importance, a ruler in the synagogue, which is more or less like the chief administrator at the church. Life had been good to him. He was prosperous. He had a family. What could go wrong?
For most people, though, something usually does go wrong. Jairus’s daughter fell ill, very ill. He was desperate. This girl was the love of his life, his reason to live, as any daughter is for any good father. She was obviously dying and there was nothing that any doctor could do for her.
Then, Jesus arrived on the shores of his town. He begged Jesus to heal her, and Jesus immediately headed to his house, followed by a throng of people. On the way there, though, Jesus stopped.
“Who touched me?” said Jesus.
Jairus panicked. His daughter was deathly ill. There was no time to waste. He must have thought Jesus crazy, for He was surrounded by hundreds of people, each vying for His attention, yet the Master had asked who touched Him?
In his mind, Jairus screams, “Come, hurry, Jesus. There’s no time for this…” Only the dignity of his position prevents him from grabbing the Master by the arm and dragging him to his daughter’s side.
No sooner does Jesus bless and heal the woman that had touched Him, than Jairus sees his servants rushing into the crowd. They need not speak. He could tell by their expressions that his daughter had passed.
When the servants did speak and confirm his deepest fears, he lost it. Tears welled in his eyes. His lips quivered. His hands shook. His heart sank. Death had called on his home, and taken his daughter. Oh, that he could take her place. If only the woman hadn’t distracted the Master. If only…
The Master, though, had heard the servants and took pity on Jairus. “Do not be afraid. Only believe.”
Jairus heard those words and looked into the eyes of the Master and saw not death, rather he saw eyes full of life, light and love. What he felt as he did so compelled him to believe. For when Jesus spoke, the ruler of the synagogue understood this: no one loved his daughter more than he, except the Master. And, at that very moment, Jairus knew that whatever he found when he arrived home, all would be well because his home was in the hands of the living God.
Oh, that I had understood the lessons of Mark 5 twenty years ago, when the sheriff called my office and asked me to meet him at the scene of my wife’s accident. I would have saved myself a world of grief had I trusted in God like Jairus.
So long as we listen to the words of Jesus, keep our eyes on Him, and invite Him into our home, all will be well. No matter what tragedy strikes, it is but a small bump in an eternal road; God will provide us the strength to endure whatever besets us. “Do not be afraid. Only believe.”