Prepare Our Hearts – October 16

A Devotional from Central Presbyterian Church.Find another day here.

Friday, October 16, 2020
Mark 5:35-43

 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

As we have mentioned, our family is attempting to adopt a child from China. For those who may be unfamiliar with the process, as I still mostly am, almost all of the children available to be adopted internationally have some form of special need. As you may imagine, most of the available children with mild to moderate issues find homes relatively quickly, while many of those with more severe needs may wait for years before finding a forever home, if ever. Before we even began to look at the files of waiting children, we had to discuss with our agency what sort of things we thought we would be able to handle. One form was literally a check-list of medical problems where we had to cross off diseases and disabilities we thought we did not have the capacity to care for. Then, after looking through hundreds of files of available waiting children, a little boy caught our eye. Now, in all of our conversations up to this point, we were convinced that we would be bringing home another little girl to add to our very estrogen dominated household. On top of being a boy, he was also a few years older than what we had been comfortable dealing with, and yet, after checking through his records, watching his videos, and seeing his enormous smile, we felt led to submit the proper papers in an attempt to bring him into our family.

Because of Meagan’s medical condition, we were a little unsure how long it might take the Chinese agency to review our application and grant the initial approval for our little guy. Late one morning a few weeks later, just minutes before I was about to go out of town for a few days, our agency called to give us the news that he had actually just been adopted by a local family in China. We hung up with mixed emotions, grateful that the boy now had a home, but of course disappointed that it would not be with us. As I prepared to leave, Meg and I prayed together and asked the Lord to make His path clear for us. Already knowing that the notoriously lengthy process would require additional time because of the effects of government lockdowns, we committed to take whatever time we might needing before we decided to submit our next application. Just hours later, we received two additional files to review and, after a period of prayer, examination, and consultation with our physicians, the day after I returned from my trip, we once again submitted an application, this time for a little girl. We still don’t know quite what to expect (for what its worth the agency said that a child being adopted locally was EXTREMELY rare), and we are back to waiting again, but we are trusting in the Lord moment-by-moment, day- by-day.

Life can often be a roller coaster of emotions. Think back now to Jairus and his time with Jesus. After Jesus agreed to see his ailing daughter, their progress was interrupted by Jesus’ encounter with the diseased woman. While Jairus must have been at least somewhat encouraged that Jesus had the ability to heal her ailment, which had tortured her for twelve years, he was also anxious to continue. The situation with his daughter was so dire that there was not a moment to spare. Yet, as Jesus was still talking with the woman, some men from Jairus’ house approached with the heart-sinking news, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any more?” But before they could continue their train of thought and start to console their friend, it was now Jesus’ turn to interrupt. “Don’t be afraid,” He spoke to Jairus, “only believe.” Jairus initially came to Jesus in faith that his daughter could be healed, but now that she was gone, what could anyone possibly do?

At once, Jesus dismissed the growing crowd, a taller task than it would first appear, and set off for the home of Jairus, bringing with them only Peter, James, and John. As they approached the house they were met with what can only be described as a spectacle. Along with the girl’s grieving mother, extended family members, friends, professional mourners and even musicians had gathered. It appeared everyone had come to offer their condolences to the important synagogue leader, although perhaps some with mixed motives, and the resultant noise was overwhelming.

Entering the house, Jesus openly questioned the overly-distraught gathering, wondering why they were carrying on in such fashion while the girl was asleep, to which they responded with laughter, revealing the true shallowness of their affections. Truthfully, Jesus was not ignorant of the seriousness of the girl’s condition, in fact some time later He would make a similar claim about His dear friend Lazarus who was dead for days rather than minutes. Instead, Jesus was declaring that, with Him, even death was nothing more than a temporary obstacle.

Jesus dismissed the hollow audience and entered the room of the lifeless girl with her parents and His disciples. Earlier Jairus had pleaded with Jesus to lay hands on his precious child so that she be made well, and now Jesus took her fragile hand in His and spoke the sweetest words she would ever hear, “Talitha cumi.” Mark provides a translation of the Aramaic phrase for his Greek-reading audience as, “Little girl, I say to you, arise,” but an alternative, and more literal, rendering of the phrase would be simply “Little lamb, rise.” The Good Shepherd was calling one of His precious flock back to Himself from even beyond the grave.

When the child opened her eyes the very first thing she saw was the face of Jesus. Her parents and the disciples could only gawk in speechless amazement as the girl stood up and began to walk around as if she had merely awoken from a restful sleep. As Jairus and his wife enveloped their only child in a suffocating embrace Jesus warned them all that no one must know what happened in that room because of the unwanted attention it would bring. If the Pharisees and scribes heard rumors of a resurrection they might attempt to get rid of the evidence and her life could be in danger once more. Before parting ways, Jesus reminded mom and dad to let go of their famished girl long enough to get her some food to restore her strength.

In the span of just a few days, Jesus demonstrated His divine power over disaster, demons, disease, and now death. With just a word, or a touch, Jesus broke through the raging chaos to restore peace to body and soul, and He offers the same for each one of His most precious lambs. Jesus sees through the commotion of our lives and meets us in our places of deepest need and darkest despair. He invites us to cast all of our cares and concerns upon Him, to transform our fear into faith and trust Him with all the details. Of course this lifelong process is easier said than done, but regardless of our insecurities and doubts, our mistakes and missteps along the way, He is faithful and true, as He will be to the end.

Prayer for Today:
Lord Jesus, we acknowledge Your rightful place as our one and only Lord and Savior. Help us to fight through our fears and surrender ourselves to You, recognizing that we are powerless on our own over the storms and trials of life. We thank You for Your tender care and sweet affection, for taking us by the hand and rousing our souls when we were hopelessly lost. Help us to hear Your voice and follow Your lead in all that You have laid before us. In Your most precious name, Amen.