I’ve been in a total funk, spiritually. I mentioned that one of our friends died last month, and I guess that was just the last straw. On top of all the other stuff we’ve dealt with this year, it was too much. I didn’t understand. And I was mad. One night Anderson and I were talking in the car about praying, and I just abruptly said, (yelled?) “What’s the point?” He was like, “Whaaaaat?” And I said, “What’s the point in any of this? Why do we pray if it doesn’t change anything?” That’s when I realized that bitterness was starting to creep into my heart. It happened fast. And even though I was in a bad place spiritually I didn’t want that bitterness to grow any more. But I didn’t know how to stop it either. I had still been reading my Bible and praying (halfheartedly) during all of this, and that certainly wasn’t helping. So I decided to fast. I know you’re not supposed to talk about fasting (because it can be taken as bragging or whatever), but I figure since I’m not doing it anymore and since I share enough for you to know I’m no super-Christian, it’s okay. 🙂
My faith was completely rocked. More than it’s ever been. This certainly wasn’t the first hard time in my life. Not even the first trial I’d dealt with this year! But it was the first time I’d felt such a strong desire to unceasingly cry out to God on someone else’s behalf. To plead with him on my knees for my friend. So I just felt cheated when he died. Like God had let down so many people. He didn’t answer my desperate cries the way I wanted him to. I know that eternity in Heaven is incomparable to life on this earth. I get it. But it’s hard to grasp the idea of eternity while living with the realities of this world. The reality of two little girls who don’t have a dad anymore. And a young wife and mother who now wears the title, “widow.”
None of it made sense. And I wanted God to explain himself. To say something. Anything. I knew He didn’t have to, but I asked him to please speak to me while I fasted. To remind me. I needed to remember. I was hoping He’d write on a wall or something. He’s done it before! I mean I was actually in the bathroom one day staring at the wall and thought, “Hmm. It would be really cool if God just wrote a message up there right now.” (I blame the lack of nutrients I was consuming at the time.) He didn’t write on the wall or in the sky or send me a text; but he did remind me.
One day I was reading Mark 5:22-43. I’ve been border-line obsessed with this passage ever since I found out about my brain tumor. It’s about Jesus bringing a dead girl back to life. Three of the gospels talk about it, but I like Mark’s account best!
Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 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.” So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 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. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
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?”
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 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. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
I’ve read this story many times over the last few months, and felt so encouraged by the fact that Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter. Encouraged, because He can do anything; if it’s part of His plan. But while I was fasting God showed me something different. Not the part about the girl being healed, but what Jesus said to her father. Jairus had gone to Jesus and pleaded on behalf of his daughter. He asked Jesus to heal her. He believed. But while they were headed back to his home, some friends came and told him his daughter was dead. Jesus had to have seen the despair in Jairus’ eyes. The disappointment. He knew Jesus could heal her, so why did He let her die? Why didn’t He answer his request the way he wanted? Then Jesus looked at him and simply said, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” Just believe that I know what’s about to happen. Just believe that I know the WHOLE story. Just believe that my plan is perfect. Just believe that I love you.
That’s all you need.