Wednesday, October 9, 2013

{grace words wednesday} : when it feels like Jesus is across the lake

"when Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake ..." ~ mark 5:21

can you see the father pacing on the beach? the daddy whose daughter lay dying. the desperate papa wild with fear for his child. the synagogue leader standing helpless on the shoreline ... searching for Jesus.

Jesus who was out on a boat.
Jesus who was across the lake.
Jesus who was busy healing others.

can you imagine the man weak at water's edge scanning the thin line of horizon. waiting. wondering. wringing his hands in the anxiety of what if?

what if Jesus doesn't come in time?
what if Jesus can't help?
what if she dies?

we feel a little like that father sometimes,
don't we?

when our child has an issue or an illness or an incredibly challenging problem. we pace the shoreline wondering where God's deliverance is.

maybe even wondering where God is ...

i have felt like that father in mark chapter 5.

the very week we began the adoption of our daughter, bella, we were told she had gone into respiratory/cardiac distress and been hospitalized. while we were signing papers and readying documents and gearing up for a year long pursuit of this tiny girl from china, she was undergoing emergency open heart surgery half a world away.

bella was 18 months old and she spent four weeks recovering in a hospital. alone.

and there wasn't anything we could do about it. not one single thing.

on the other side of the world we paced for an entire year, not knowing much about how she was doing. updates were limited -- scarce, in fact. when we pleaded to find out more, we'd get a response like, "she's doing better" or "she's doing fine."

but you mamas and daddies know that "better" and "fine" don't quite cut it when your child is sick and 7,000 miles away.

as parents we want to DO SOMETHING.

from july 2009 until july 2010, i paced, i prayed, i pleaded with God to speed up the adoption and bring this little girl home to her family.

and if i'm honest, at times it felt like Jesus was on the other side of the lake ... out on a boat ... busy with someone else.

in mark chapter 5, Jesus returns to the fear-ridden father on the beach.

His boat hit the shoreline and in the middle of the assembled crowd stood jairus ... still there ... still waiting.
"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." ~ mark 5:23-25
did you get that?  i don't know if it was in desperation or in relief or maybe just in plain old exhaustion, but jairus, the powerful synagogue leader, fell at the feet of Jesus and began to plead for the life of his daughter.

this month, many of you have joined me in a 31 day prayer challenge, praying for our kids. we are already into week two and i don't know about you, but it has blessed me to intentionally fall at the feet of Jesus each morning and plead on behalf of my five. i've been praying for and with and about my kids for years, but something about this intentionality feels different. it's more like that pacing ... like wearing a path in the sand ... because of continual, regular, scheduled, committed prayer.

isn't that how we're supposed to pray 365 days for our kids? for ourselves? for everything? shouldn't there be a path well worn in the sand ... a patch of carpet threadbare by our bedside?

i'm not always that kind of pray-er -- but i want to be. when i encounter burdens or bruised living, i want it to be the first instinct, the first impulse, the first idea ...

oh friend, i don't know what kind of desperate pacing is taking place in your home right now. i don't know what kind of concerns or worries or heartbreak is keeping you up at night. but i do know each of you probably has something which you'd like to leave at the feet of Jesus. chances are there is (or has been) something about your child which keeps you on your knees. something which makes you look to the horizon wondering: where is Jesus?

because sometimes in our frailty we, like jairus, fear those same what ifs. what if Jesus isn't enough?

and just like in life, this story in mark 5 isn't clean cut and quick. no, it goes on with several interruptions. in the midst of their conversation about the daughter of jairus Jesus turned and healed a totally different woman. i know jairus had to be thinking, "hurry Jesus. come with me. forget all these other people. i need you. now. focus Jesus! Jesus ...Jesus ... Jesus!"

and, if that wasn't enough, just as they were about to leave, some people appear from the girl's bedside saying, "your daughter is dead, why bother the teacher anymore?"

jairus could have given up. turned away. shuffled home.

but Jesus overhearing them replies, "don't be afraid; just believe."

i know sometimes it feels like Jesus is far away -- (across the lake). it feels like surely He has too much else to do -- (healing another person). it feels like the situation is hopeless -- (your daughter is dead).

i know.

but friend, hold tight to His answer, "don't be afraid; just believe."

Jesus is always around. always available. and always able.

 "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.' ... 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 ..." ~ mark 5:38-42

one year after our daughter's life saving surgery in china, she came home. healthy. heart fully pumping. healed. i'll never forget our appointment with the cardiologist in that first week of her arrival. i'll never forget the doctor (who wasn't a believer) looking at bella's heart in the ultrasound room and declaring, "it's amazing. it's a miracle."

"don't be afraid; just believe."

"talitha koum!"

{grace-words: believe * around * available * able * talitha koum!}

Jesus, you encourage us: "come to me all who are weary and burdened ..." all who wring their hands and worry through their days and wonder about the great what ifs.  "come to me."  Father God, let our paths be well worn as we come. let us learn to bring our burdens and our fears before you. teach us, like the desperate daddy, jairus, to even fall at your feet and listen for your voice, "don't be afraid; just believe." a-men.

linking up again this morning for {grace words} with becky crenshaw over at The Word of God and a Cup of Joe ...  "if your kids resist Jesus."

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