DayBreaks for 11/20/15: Encountering Your Worst Fears
From the DayBreaks archive, 2005 (and some from 11/19/15):
We have all witnessed and imagined fear lately with the attacks in Paris, the debate about migrants fleeing war in their own countries and pledges from terrorists to attack our cities in America. How did people respond to such fears as they were inside the theater in Paris? Some (understandably!) fled for their lives. I heard that one young woman, standing in a line to be shot, threw something at the terrorist who was point a gun at her – and then he did, in fact, shoot and kill her. That, too, was dealing with fear.
If I were to ask you what your greatest fear is, you might say something like: “dying”, or “getting cancer”. Fear can cripple and disfigure us in many ways. While I don’t want to oversimplify facing your greatest fear and trivialize it in any way, there is a situation in scripture where a man, Jairus, encountered what for most of us would be the greatest fear: the loss of a child to death.
Jairus was a synagogue ruler, an influential man in the Jewish community. He came to Jesus to ask him to come to his daughter so she would be healed and live. I can almost see the strained face and tears of Jairus as he gets on his knees in the dust and dirt and chokes out the words. Jesus agrees to go with him, but on the way is interrupted by a woman who touches his garment to gain healing for her own affliction. Jesus stops the procession (leaving Jairus and the little girl hanging in the balance) to search out the woman and carry on a discussion. Jairus’ heart must have been twisting and churning, with thoughts like: “Come on, Jesus, my daughter is dying! There is no time to waste here!”
Jairus needn’t have bothered with being anxious, because even as Jesus was speaking, servants arrive with the worst news a parent could hear: Your daughter is dead…why bother the teacher any more? (Mk. 5:35)
How does a parent face such a moment? I won’t pretend to understand the depth of the pain that cut Jairus’ heart. I’ve never been in his place. I know some of you have – recently – and are bleeding profusely from your wounds. I don’t know how a parent faces such a thing – but I know what Jesus’ advice to Jairus was: “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
If I’d been Jairus, I think I would have said: “Believe what, Jesus? She’s dead! Don’t you get it!? She’s gone…and she was only 12! Maybe, just maybe, if you hadn’t delayed with this woman, my baby girl would still be alive!” Bold words I’d have spoken in my heart, if not with my lips.
But Jesus isn’t deterred. Death is no big thing to you when you are the Son of God. He allows only Peter, James and John to continue the trip with he and Jairus. They reach the house and he raises the child.
What does all this have to do with facing our worst fears? The key is in Jesus’ words: “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” How? I think it works like this:
FIRST: look at his promises, his declaration of love unending for you. Ask yourself this question: has he EVER failed in all of recorded history to keep even one of his promises? Has he EVER told a lie? Is there ANY reason now to believe he would be telling you a lie when he says that all things work for good to those who love the Lord and the promise of His appearing? I cannot begin to tell you how some things will “work for good”. No human being can, so I won’t even venture a guess. But the question here is: Is he worthy of belief? The answer: he has a spotless track record.
SECOND: given the past evidence, is he likely to ever fail to keep his promise to YOU?
THIRD: consider whether or not Jesus is capable of keeping his promise – you know he is! It is one thing to make promises you don’t have the capability of keeping – but being God, Jesus has the power to make any and every promise come true.
FINALLY: ponder whether or not Jesus is willing to keep his promises – and remember that God’s will is immutable. His will is going to be done and it will be done perfectly.
How can we face our worst fears? “Don’t be afraid….just believe.” When all else fails, when there is nothing or no one else, believe in Him. You will not be disappointed.
Copyright 1999 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
TODAY’S PRAYER: Almighty Father, we are creatures of such doubting natures. We have faith in all the wrong things and we put our trust in things that are bound to fail us. Forgive us for our lack of faith in You and Your goodness. When we are afraid, may we run to the Rock that is higher than we are and there find reassurance and the power to believe in all Your promises. In Jesus’ name, Amen.