Wait … Trust … Believe

Mark 5:21-43

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake.22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this,and told them to give her something to eat.



Have you ever heard of the American prayer?  It goes something like this, “Lord, give me patience, oh, and I want it right now.”  Patience is not a virtue our society seems to favor.  We live in a world of frozen tv dinners, fast food restaurants with mobile app ordering, instant coffee from our Keurig machine, cameras on our phones, freeway express lanes, Google, Alexa, and Siri.  A common motto is, “give it to me quick or forget about it!

Very few of us like to wait.  I know that I’m not very good at it.  But why is it that we don’t like to wait?  I and others believe that the hidden, deep lying reason why we don’t like to wait is that waiting tends to remind people that they are not in control.  We’ll readily admit that we don’t like to wait in traffic, especially if we have somewhere to be.  We will walk back and forth across the store to find the shortest checkout line at Wal-Mart or the grocery store to avoid having to wait.  We don’t like to wait at airports and we especially don’t like to wait when our computer doesn’t work fast enough or as fast as we would like them to.

A man by the name of Dr. Larry Dossey, coined a term which describes this problem which many of us have.  People who hate to wait suffer from something called “Hurry Sickness.”  Dr. Dossey defines “Hurry Sickness” as “an increased sensitivity to the passage of time.”  He believes that people who suffer from “Hurry Sickness” may experience things like ulcers, high blood pressure, tension headaches, high cholesterol, and even a lowered to resistance to disease.  Some may go so far as have a heart attack.  What he doesn’t mention, but what many of us suffer from in connection with this “Hurry Sickness” is anxiety, a frustrated spouse, neglected children, a deteriorating spiritual life, and a short temper.  You do more, work harder, run faster and wind up in an early grave.  It doesn’t seem worth it and yet many, myself included, struggle with this.

To see if you have “Hurry Sickness,” Dr. Dossey offers an experiment which I would like to try this morning.  Normally you would do this with a partner.  Your partner would blindfold you.  He would set a timer for one minute and while blindfolded, you have to try to guess how long a minute is.  Dr. Dossey says that to a person who suffers from “Hurry Sickness,” a minute lasts about 15 seconds or less.  So instead of a blindfold, when I start the timer, I want you to close your eyes.  Only open them when you think we have gone a minute.  Ready, set … go.

I wonder how long it felt for Jarius of our Gospel lesson.  For the next few minutes, I want you to try to put yourself in Jarius’ shoes.

You are an important figure within your community as you are one of the leaders of the local synagogue, the local church.  Many people look to you to lead as an example of how God wants a person to live.  You are also a parent to a lovely little twelve-year-old girl who you love dearly.  However, your daughter is really sick.  She is on the brink of death.  She is your only child and you want nothing more than for her to get better.  You hear news that this Jesus guy is coming through town again.  You don’t know exactly what think about him.  Your position as one of the synagogue rulers tells you to avoid confronting Jesus, that Jesus is hostile to those like you who are in an authoritative position.  Jesus is considered hostile because he has been going against the norm of Jewish laws passed down from the temple headquarters in Jerusalem.  But you hear that has Jesus has been doing miracles.  You know that he has healed a paralytic man, he healed a man with a withered hand, he cast demons out of man, and he recently calmed a storm as he was coming back to Capernaum.  Maybe, just maybe he could help your daughter.  But what about your position?

Thinking about your very sick daughter, you decide to throw your authoritative position aside, you throw aside what your friends and colleagues may think of you, and you fight your way through the large crowd which has gathered around Jesus.  You push and shove your way through and upon reaching Jesus and seeing him face to face … you look into his eyes and you throw yourself down at his feet.  You grab hold of his feet and you beg, you plead with Jesus, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live” (Mark 5:23)!  …  Jesus gives you a look saying, “yes, I will go with you.  Lead the way.”

Except, as you lead Jesus through the streets of Capernaum to your house, to your extremely sick and fragile little girl, the large crowd gathered at the lakeshore only continues to grow larger with people coming and asking Jesus to perform this or that miracle.  The crowd is so large and is pressing in around Jesus that you are literally having to squeeze him through.  You think, “People!  Will you just get out of my way!?!  My daughter is dying and I need to get Jesus to her before it’s too late!  Jesus is the last hope I have for her!

But as you are slowly make your way through the crowd, literally inching along … Jesus stops.  You think, “What now!?!”  Then you hear Jesus ask, “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30).  You look at Jesus and with the disciples ask, “Seriously Jesus?  You see the people crowding against you and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’  Seriously, we don’t have time for this, my daughter is dying remember?  We need to get her!

But Jesus stops.  As you anxiously try to get him to start walking toward your house, he stands there … he looks around to see who it was who touched him.  He refuses to go on until he sees who it is who touched him.  As he looks, a woman who has been known throughout town to have been suffering from a bleeding disease, steps forward and falls at Jesus’ feet.  Trembling with fear she tells him that she thought that if she could just touch the fringe of his cloak that she would be healed.  Then you hear Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34).

But as Jesus is speaking to this woman, you turn and look in the direction of your house, anxiously wanting to get to your daughter.  However, you see some of the men from your house approaching with saddened faces.  They stand before you and quietly tell you, “I’m sorry, sir … your daughter is dead.  Why bother the teacher any more?” (Mark 5:35).  But before you can say anything, Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36).  Together with Jesus and his disciples, you quietly finish walking back to your house.

For Jarius, for any of us really, when we are in a hurry, when we need to get somewhere or need to see someone, it seems like time crawls and that it takes forever to get where we are going.  In those moments, it seems like if something is likely to happen to slow us down it will.  It probably drove Jarius insane when Jesus stopped to see who it was who touched him.  That was precious times Jarius wasn’t going to get back.  It was time which Jesus could have used to heal his daughter.  It was time which Jarius himself could have used to tell his precious little girl good bye and that he loved her.  But instead of running on ahead to his daughter … Jarius waited … he stopped and waited with Jesus.

And that is where I believe many of us find ourselves.  Waiting. … Whether we are waiting for test results, whether waiting for a teenage child to come home at night, whether we are waiting for a deployed family member to come home, whether we are waiting for the news after a job interview, or whether we are waiting for an injury to heal.  We wait.  As hard as it is for any of us, but especially those of us with “Hurry Sickness,” which is almost all of us, we have to stop and wait … and trust.

Trust that as the creator and sustainer of all things, God has everything under control for “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).  Trust that in spite of our lack of patience … God will take care of all things in His time, “For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him” (Ecclesiastes 8:6).  Trust in that God is with you for He has commanded, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).  God will do only those things which are best for you, even when you may think differently and wish He would hurry up.  Each of us, myself included, need to wait … trust … believe.

For Jarius, even though he was in a hurry to get Jesus to his daughter so that he may heal her, he stopped and waited for Jesus along the way back because he trusted in Jesus’ words, “Do not be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36).  In the midst of our waiting, in the midst of our hardships … Jesus says the same thing to us, “Do not be afraid; just believe.”

We are told exactly in middle of the book of Lamentations, a book full of sorrow, lamenting, and bad news, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, ‘the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’” (3:22-24).  Exactly in the middle of all the sorrow, all the hardships, all the laments, there is this gospel message of God’s love for you.  His compassion He gives you never fails.  God’s mercy is granted to you and it is new each and every morning.  Friends, no matter what happens to you or me in this life … we patiently wait, trust, and believe that God has all things in His hands and someday we will see the reward of our faith in Christ as we live with him in the new creation, the new heavens and the new earth where we “will soar on wings like eagles; we will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).  Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, now and forever.  Amen.