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March 31, 2014

Lead Me On: Don’t Be Surprised

When your faith feels weak ... keep the faith anyway.



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I recently heard a sermon about a man who possessed incredible faith: Jairus. And his daughter was about to die.

Just as one would expect from a sermon, Jairus sought out Jesus, found him, secured a few one-on-one moments with him, and asked him for help.

Jesus said yes, followed Jairus home, said a few choice words, and ta-da! Daughter was healed. ACTUALLY daughter was brought back to LIFE.

Just like that.

Some. Faith.

I later read the story for myself, and Jairus' reaction to the whole encounter caught my eye (Mark 5:22-43).

He was amazed.

He was amazed?

I understand he was emotional about the healing of his daughter. I have a young daughter. I can't even apply this story to any context including her because it stops my heart. I'm about to bawl. My back muscles just seized up between my shoulder blades.

I get it. What Jesus did for Jairus' daughter was amazing.

But he was amazed? As in blown away? As in, what Jairus received from Jesus was bigger than he had been able to wrap his head around minutes earlier.

As in, what kind of faith is that?

As in, so what that we say we believe? Until a thing happens, we don't. I mean really, we just don't.

What was the Author's point with the story? Until you see, you hardly know what to believe—hardly know what "believe" even means.

But Jairus. He believed enough to go find Jesus. He believed enough to fall at Jesus' feet and plead earnestly with him. He believed enough to wait (wait!) while Jesus paused to address the needs of a bleeding woman. He believed enough to ignore friends' bad news that his daughter had died and really bad advice to therefore abandon the effort to get Jesus to help.

He believed enough to listen when Jesus told him, "Don't be afraid..."

In the end, he was amazed. In fact, the NIV says he was completely astonished. Actually, it says "They were completely astonished" as in him plus his wife plus three apostles who by that point should not have been shocked by a single rabbit Jesus pulled out of his hat. They'd seen big things already. Huge.

And?

Astonished. Amazed.

Don't be so surprised by the teeny tiny skinny thread that is our faith. It's hard, this journey. It's confusing.

As much as we think he will, we largely think he ... might not.

Jairus saw it coming but he still didn't see it coming.

It's overwhelming to do this one thing: believe that something amazing could happen.

We tell our kids and the people we lead that this is a matter of faith. Confidence. Walk boldly. Believe. This summer, I watched my 8-year-old son's football coach holler confidently during a pregame pep talk. "We're better than those guys!" he said. "We're gonna beat those guys!" he said. "It's gonna be great!"

I thought to myself, How wonderful to have such bold confidence. A pep talk from me would say something like "I'm curious to see how they perform. I wonder how you will perform. Who's going to win? We're about to find out."

Judge me if you want to, but that Jairus story says to me there is an Author who wants this point made known: So what? So what that some of us can't muster a vein-popping I-know-what'll-happen-I-believe-it'll-happen-let's-go-make-it-happen kind of faith?

We believe enough to go find Jesus. We believe enough to fall at his feet and plead earnestly with him. We believe enough to wait (wait!) while Jesus pauses to address the needs of a fellow hurting, wounded friend (but dude—chop, chop).

We believe enough to ignore friends' bad news (kinda) and really bad advice (ish ... we ignore-ish this stuff).

So what does that get us?

It got Jairus a page in his book. In a couple of gospels as a matter of fact.

Oh. And his daughter. The muscles between my shoulder blades just unseized. Did someone add oxygen to the air? He got his daughter back.

If you're in a weak moment, look at it this way—you can always give up tomorrow. Today, don't. No pressure. Just ... don't. Wait. Don't listen to give-up advice even if it makes perfect, logical, loving sense to just quit.

Believe that something amazing could happen.

I wish you would.

Because if you do, then I might be more likely to too.

And I would like the chance to be amazed.


Janelle Alberts is a freelance writer and has managed marketing and media relations needs for clients such as Microsoft, Wells Fargo, and UPS.

Related Tags: faith, healing, soul care, trust, weakness

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