Recently, my daughter Louise and I have been reading and rereading the same story in her Jesus Storybook Bible. In her book, it is titled, “A little girl and a poor frail lady,” and the passage it is based off of is in Luke 8:40-56. Kids tend to ask for the same book or story over and over again which normally would get old, but in this weird time of life, this story has been a balm for my soul.
You should definitely take a minute to read the passage yourself, but I can summarize it for you now: a religious leader named Jairus urgently pleads with Jesus to come heal his 12-year-old daughter who is dying. Jesus agrees to go to her, and on the way there, in the midst of a thick crowd, Jesus stops and says ‘who touched me?’ His disciples basically say that ‘lots of people are touching you because we are not in the midst of a global pandemic, therefore not socially distancing, and everyone wants to get close to you’ (okay they didn’t say the global pandemic thing, but I am chuckling to myself, so you’re welcome). Well of course, Jesus was right, a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years had touched his cloak and immediately, she was healed. Then, while all of this was happening, someone from Jairus’ house comes to tell him that his daughter has died. Jesus doesn’t seem to hear and continues to Jairus’ house where he RAISES THE GIRL FROM THE DEAD. I think Louise likes this story because the drawing of the little girl looks a bit like her - brown hair and eyes with the cutest bangs. Also, there is a rooster drawn in the window of the little girl’s bedroom that sort of resembles hei-hei from Moana, so it’s an all-around win in her book.
Why has this story been so refreshing to me lately?
First, I love the faith of the two people who are in need. Jairus and the old woman. Both know that Jesus can help them, they must first only ask, or in the old woman’s case, simply draw near to Jesus. I am embarrassed to say that my response to how I am feeling or what I am experiencing on any given day during this time is not always to turn to Jesus. But Psalm 34:18 says the ‘Lord is near to the brokenhearted,’ and in a time of physical distance, it is a comfort to know that his power and presence are with me wherever I go, even if I am just at home.
Second, Jesus. He should probably be first, but I am going in order of appearance in the story, so bear with me. It seems as if He knew, based on His “who touched me?” question, that the bleeding woman was already healed, and it seems as if He knew that Jairus’ daughter would die while He lingered, yet He chose to pause and acknowledge the woman. I love the tenderness with which He calls her, ‘daughter’ and acknowledges her faith, even as He is on His way to meet a seemingly more ‘urgent’ need. I can easily feel shame in this time for feeling sad or having a hard time being socially isolated when there are people dying or losing their jobs as a result of this pandemic. But Jesus does not shame the bleeding woman for turning to Him, nor is He disappointed in or surprised by our needs as we adjust to life in our broken and complicated world. We can turn to Him, full of faith that He has compassion for our needs, and full of confidence that He has the power to breathe life into situations that to us, seem hopeless.
As we reflect on Easter and the celebration of Jesus’ ultimate displays of compassion and power, His death and resurrection, how might you ask Him to breathe life into something that feels hopeless? What needs are you keeping from Him because you feel they are not as important as the bigger things going on? Turn to Jesus and trust that He cares for all of it.
1 Peter 5:6-7
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
With affection from a distance,
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