Saturday, August 17, 2013

I was afraid my hope was futile

I have been given hope back. I had lost it. Circumstances said no one was interested, the idea was lame, and I was wasting my time. My hope was based in circumstances and my own heart, and therefore when things got rocky I lost it.

Oh, yes, I told myself all that mattered was that I was learning. That is what kept me going for as long as I did. But the silence threatened to over take me, my motives swore they would swallow me up, and my heart felt as if no one would listen.

So I stopped. March was the last time I put anything up on this site. March was the last time I opened up the Word, my concordance, my notebook, and the variety of websites which help me learn. March was when I sat down in the dust and said, "I'm done."

But then a friend spoke to me. Quietly, quickly, and I felt my heart beat.
And then I spoke to another. Quietly, quickly, my heart beat again.

And the pulse began slowly but surely until the hope was beating in my chest, but differently this time. This time the hope is that God works with me. This time I will work a little harder in areas I didn't work. This time I will stand on the mountain top and keep shouting because I want the world to hear what God does say.

The thing is, and I do know this, the results may not change one iota from what they were before. But this time I know that I am where I should be, doing what I need to be, and I am learning to trust God with the results, whatever they may be.

I'm also learning the same thing, to keep hope in Christ, regarding some other circumstances as well. Circumstances I don't know the end of. Circumstances I can't see hope in. But Christ. Christ has the hope for me, in the circumstances of this study and those which I hold close to my heart.

And so, the study starts back up again with the loss of a little girl, the loss of hope in a father, and the hope returned by Christ. "Don't be afraid, just believe."

The Fear of Losing Hope

Mark 5:36
Ignoring what they said,
Jesus told the synagogue ruler,
“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Jesus’ words here are simple and fairly straight forward. “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Two little words follow the “Don’t be afraid” phrase, and I was curious if there was anything packed into such a small space. The Greek word translated “believe” in this section meant “to put one’s faith in, trust, with the implication that actions based on that trust may follow.” And the Greek word translated “just” in this section meant “only, alone, by oneself.” If we can base the ruler’s thoughts off of how Jesus responded to him, I believe we can know Jairus was ready to give up hope for his daughter because of what he heard.

This is perfectly understandable, for the report was she was dead. The logical thing at this point is to let go of hope, but think about a desperate parent looking at Jesus. I can feel that spark, not fully extinguished, wanting desperately to believe Jesus can still help.

Have you been in this position? Maybe not with the death of a child, but maybe it was the death of a dream, or an idea, or a goal? You had your hope that Jesus would take care of a situation, and suddenly things seem hopeless. Maybe it is a relationship you were hoping would be reconciled, and it has now been reported to you that there is no longer a bridge to cross for that to happen. Do you find yourself desperately looking to Jesus and wondering if there is any way possible what the circumstances say is true might yet still be changed?

I can’t guarantee that what you want to happen will happen. I would love to say that enough faith in Jesus will allow things to work as you think they should, but that is not what I have found to be true. What I have found is that our faith in Chris sometimes helps things work out as we want, but all more importantly He is with us however things work out. But just as Jesus’s concern were for Jairus, his wife, and his daughter, His concern is also for you.

In that moment, where we put our faith is so important. Do we put our faith in the reports and logic of what is in front of us? Or do we say to Christ that we trust him with the results whatever they may be? What is the difference? In the first we are without hope, and in the second we have hope regardless.

Question 1: Even if you are the only one hoping in Christ, can you still believe Him and trust?

Question 2: The situation you are facing which is breaking your heart also breaks the heart of God. Regardless of how things end up, can you allow Him to comfort you and bring you peace in the midst of it all?

Dear Father
So often we want what we want
So often we grow impatient
But what it always seems to come down to
Is our faith in You
Regardless of what logic, circumstances, or hopelessness says
Thank you for the hope which is always found in You

Friday, August 16, 2013

Jairus' fear

Jesus is going to help Jairus’ daughter who is dying. On the way the situation is interrupted by another person needing Jesus’ help. A woman who knew she could be healed by simply touching the hem of Jesus’ robe. A woman who Jesus would not let pass without being acknowledged. And Jairus stood by watching. I can imagine the impatience, frustration, and annoyance of Jairus, though it is not mentioned and is purely my imagination. However, his daughter was back at home, and if only Jesus would come to place his hand on her then she would live. His daughter needed Jesus' touch, too.

As the encounter with the woman is coming to a close, someone grabs Jairus’ attention. Men from his house came to tell him the sad news that his daughter was dead. Stop and think. Stop and feel.

Is there now anger for the woman who could have waited to have been helped?
Is there now hopelessness because the report was bad?
Does he stop and look slowly over to Jesus who has overheard these words?
And what goes through his mind as their eyes make contact?

We cannot know, but Jesus responds to him out of compassion and hope, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”

mark 5 36
 

Mark 5:36

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe." (NIV)
Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, "Don't listen to them; just trust me." (The Message)
But Jesus paid no attention to what they said. He told the synagogue leader, "Don't be afraid, just believe." (NCV)
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he said unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. (KJV)

believe: pisteuo - to believe, put one's faith in, trust, with and implication that actions based on that trust may follow

just: monos - only, alone, by oneself

Matthew Henry Commentary:
- Christ had staid to work a cure by the way, but he shall be no sufferer by that, no loser by the gain of others
- faith is the only remedy against disquieting grief and fear at such a time: let that silence them
- he took the parents of the child to be witnesses of the miracle, because in it he had an eye to their faith, and designed it for their comfort, who were true, for they were the silent mourners

Clarke's comentary:
- These words were spoken by our Lord to the afflicted father immediately on his hearing of the death of his child, to prevent that distress which he otherwise must have felt on finding that the case was now, humanly speaking, hopeless