One At A Time
Jesus turned around and when He saw her, He said, “Be of good cheer; daughter, your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.
Jesus was in a big hurry. Well, actually, Jesus wasn’t in a hurry- the disciples were. A synagogue ruler, Jarius had asked Jesus to come to his house to heal his deathly-ill daughter, and he had agreed to go(Mark 5:22-24). The disciples thought this would be a great opportunity for Jesus to get some great press. When He heals this guy’s daughter, they probably figured, this movement will go somewhere.
A huge crowd of people followed them. Suddenly, a woman who had been sick for years reached through the crowd to touch Jesus’ cloak, and she was instantly healed. Jesus realized power had flowed out of Him, and He stopped to talk with her. The disciples and Jarius probably tapped their feet and coughed nervously to get Jesus’ attention. A little girl was dying! But Jesus was talking to this woman.
Finally, Jesus finished His conversation with the woman and He and the disciples moved on to Jarius’ house. During the delay, the little girl had died, but that was no problem to the Lord of life. He spoke to her and brought her back.(Mark 5: 41-42)
Who would stop to spend so much time with a chronically sick woman when a critically ill little girl needed help at once! Only One who knew that connecting with the woman at that moment was essential if she was to have a real relationship with Him. Death! That wasn’t a problem. Jesus could deal with it later. But taking time to talk, to connect, to impart love as well as power to a woman who needed Him? That took priority.
When you come to the edge of all of the light you know and about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you or you will be taught how to fly.
Jesus has time for everyone. In our world, it’s easy to be overlooked or passed by. Most people are so busy with life that they can’t pay attention to everyone, sometimes not even to the important people in their lives. Spouses often feel neglected, children often feel they lack attention, workers often feel taken for granted by their bosses, and church members may feel that they aren’t noticed. We live in an environment of constant crisis that presses us to just try to keep the fires put out. So many of us have such a busy life that we barely survive the week and stay exhausted most of the time. When we’re on a mission to get something done, especially if it’s really important, any interruption can frustrate us. We already feel overwhelmed and stretched to the max and that one more thing can easily push us over the top. I’m sure the day that Jarius, who had ran to Jesus in desperation and had convinced Him to come and heal his daughter, must have been at least a little frustrated with the delay caused by the woman. There are times when we are on our way to an important meeting that people driving in front of us frustrate us especially if they’re just ambling along. In Jarius’ case, it was a matter of life and death. His little girl was deathly sick and every moment counted. In his mind, the sooner Jesus got to his house the better the odds that his daughter would be healed. For him death was the point of no return. He knew that as long as there was life, there was hope but beyond that was only grief and loss. I’m sure he must have thought, “This woman has been sick a long time and one more day or hour won’t matter. My daughter is in a crisis and needs immediate help. Jesus, why don’t you take care of her later after you heal my child.” That’s what most of us would think because we limit the capacity and the power of Christ.
We often see God through the lenses of human limitations. As people, we have limited resources, limited time, and limited abilities. We are aware that we have to delegate our resources, time, and abilities to the most critical priorities. For example, we might want to help our neighbor but we have to go to work to provide for our family, so the neighbor gets no help. It’s not because we’re selfish, it’s just that our time is limited. We might want to help those in need but we can’t help everyone because our resources are limited. You get the picture. Sometimes our time with our family is limited because work and necessary things eat it up. We don’t know how to comprehend the limitless, unending, more than enough capabilities of God.
Often we keep struggling with our problems because “we don’t want to bother God.” I know we may feel this way because we have been taught not to interrupt others with our little needs when they’re busy working on “big” things. I think in the mind of the disciples that day was the thought that the woman was interrupting Jesus when He was on a critical mission. In their thinking, keeping a little girl from dying- especially since she was the daughter of an important person was too important to be interrupted by this woman. Maybe if Jesus had just brushed by her on the way without stopping, they would have been ok that she was helped but when she caused Him to stop and delay His important mission, that was too much. They, like us, had placed limits on Christ. But the reality was and is, Christ has time for everyone and every need. The small insignificant need doesn’t derail the meeting of the greater need. God’s unlimited power can create another galaxy while at the same time He can answer the prayers of the most insignificant person with the least of need.
In another story we read that Jesus delayed responding to a crisis. Lazarus was a special friend to Jesus and one would think that Jesus would have dropped His ministry and rushed to his friend. Scripture says that He continued His work where He was for another two days. By the time He arrived it had been at least four days for Lazarus had been buried that long. Mary and Martha said to the Lord that if He had hurried, their brother wouldn’t have died. They didn’t understand the delay and they thought the time had passed for Christ to do anything about the situation. That may be you and I. Maybe at some point we thought that if God would intervene then our situation could be resolved but since He has delayed, it’s beyond hope.
What we learn from both stories is that with God, there’s never too many interruptions and delay doesn’t equal failure. In Jarius’ case, a woman who had been sick a long time was healed. Imagine her joy and the testimony of Christ she gave. In her circle, Christ was glorified. When Jesus arrived at Jarius’ home, the initial response was, “too late.” That didn’t change the mission of Christ. Instead of healing the daughter, He just raised her for the dead. This ought to say to us that even if it takes a little more power of God to fix an eroding situation, we can trust that it’s never beyond His ability. That day there was rejoicing in Jarius’ home and there was rejoicing in the woman’s home and Jesus was glorified in both. In the case of Lazarus, the delay didn’t end in disaster but in an incredible display of the power of Christ over death and the grave. When it seemed that all was lost, the situation far too gone, the power and the glory of Christ was manifested.
You may be in a time of your life that you need the intervention of God. I want to give you hope. First of all God notices when you come to Him. Even the tiniest faith touches His heart and gets His attention. Brushing your fingertips across the fringe of His robe is noticed. Second of all, if you are seeing Him working in someone else’s life, don’t despair, that won’t keep Him from working in yours. Remember that even while God is keeping the universe in order, He has the time for you and your needs are just as important to Him as meeting the greater world crisis needs. Even if it feels like things are beyond help and that they are beyond possible, remember that there is nothing impossible with God and all things are possible to those who believe. Even if you can’t see your way clear or any way out, God walks with us in the darkest unknowns, holds us by the hand, guides us on the journey and brings us to our destiny that He has planned for us.