One More Step of Faith
Think of this. You trudge through the rain and wind, exhausted, hoping that your destination is just around the corner. You make the turn to discover that there is a lot further to go! Or this. You are assured by the nurse that this is the final session of chemo. You celebrate the end, only to hear the doctor apologize that 5 more sessions are needed. Finally this. You’ve waited hours at the airport for your family to arrive. You look up at the flight board to see that their plane is delayed - another 5 hours! In each scenario, you are pushed to the limit only to be pushed even further. If you identify with those feelings, you know how a terrified father felt in Mark 5.
Mark records two stories which intersect at the compassion and power of Jesus. The first story is about a desperate father named Jairus. At home his 12 year old daughter hovers near death and Jairus has come to plead for Jesus’ help. Jesus agrees and the father leads the way with hurried steps. His heart was near panic but Jesus was slowed by the crowd which enveloped Him. From the lead, Jairus looks back to see the crowd stopped. They had formed a circle around Jesus and a woman. She too was in need and had reached towards Jesus’ garment with a touch of faith. Jairus rushed back to see Jesus halted and talking with the woman. Jairus wants them to stop! His daughter is on her last breath. As Jesus speaks with this woman about her healing, a household servant comes to Jairus. He reports, “Your daughter has died. Don’t trouble the Teacher anymore.” Jairus is crushed. He was too late. This woman delayed them too long. Jairus has been pushed to his limit. But, Jesus invites him to something further.
Jesus looks at Jairus and tells him, “Don’t be afraid - just believe!” Believe what? He already believed that Jesus could heal his daughter. That’s why he was there. But Jesus invited him to believe even more. Believe that even death cannot limit the power and compassion of God. Jesus goes to the house, whispers to the deceased girl, takes her by the hand and raises her to life. Can you imagine the scene? The grief turned to joy. The shock resolving into praise. Jesus can do what we ask …. and then, do even more!
The story stretches me. It suggests that when I have expended every ounce of faith, God is worthy of more. It challenges me to reach beyond what I see as my limits. It reminds me that when I think all is lost, God is not done. It moves my confidence in God beyond the reaches of my own imaginations. It teaches me that the boundaries of my faith are set not by my own capacity, but by God’s. So there are no boundaries at all! It is a living demonstration that “God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ask or even think.” So, faith can always take one more step.