The moments of that day still linger in my mind. Some memories find themselves woven into your senses. Sounds, words, and smells quickly remind me of the events that transpired.
At times, I catch myself pushing back tinges of fear as I watch my daughter rest. Is she only sleeping?
How did deep despair and overflowing hope meet in one day? I can never forget watching my daughter’s life slip away before my eyes. And realizing I was helpless to stop it.
I had comforted friends in their grief after losing a child. My heart broke with theirs. They bore a pain that appeared inconsolable. At least by anything on this earth. I, too questioned how one walks forward when one feels such deep despair. But the initial sting to my soul as I shared in their pain eventually diminished.
Until the day I watched my daughter’s life gradually flow out of her body. Her breathing labored; the color of her skin reflecting life flowing through her seemed to fade lighter. Watching your child suffer draws out a fierce desire for control that previously lied dormant.
How can a mother not save her own child?
News about her illness spread. My friends sat with me as I had with others. But it was different being on the other side. We prayed for God to grant healing. People tried to sustain my body with food. But I couldn’t eat. Worry had consumed my appetite. My concern wasn’t for me. It was for her. I had never tasted desperation like this.
Someone save her!
In the midst of keeping watch over my daughter, the commotion outside caught my attention. As scheduled, Jesus had arrived in our town as was expected. But, in the midst of my crisis, I had forgotten about it. I wasn’t quite sure what I believed about his identity. However, stories of his healing touch were many. The timing was ironic. Perhaps he could do something. It appeared hope was out of our hands.
Jesus, save her!
Jairus quickly ran to find him. I was certain that Jairus’ position would assure a prompt response from Jesus. But it didn’t. In fact, he didn’t come right away. And neither did Jairus.
Although my friends surrounded me, I felt abandoned. By my husband. By Jesus.
What was more important than healing a child?
My child took her last breath. While we waited. The devastation erupted out of my soul. My body felt numb. I remember pinching myself to make sure this wasn’t a bad dream. The tears began welling; eventually flooding into a forceful stream down my face. A loud high pitched wail made its way up through my body and out my mouth.
Never had I felt such despair.
As the world appeared to spin around me, someone ran out to tell Jairus. After what seemed to be a long time, he entered. My mind struggled with what to do. Part of me wanted to collapse in his arms. Yet, I felt betrayed. I watched my child die without him. But I paused when I realized he not arrived alone. A few others accompanied him; including Jesus.
Did he not hear that our daughter had died?
I won’t lie. Anger began building in my heart as I spotted him. I felt betrayed. Why was our daughter not worthy of healing? What reason did he have for showing up after her death?
But then Jesus spoke. With an authority and a calmness I had not witnessed in anyone else.
“Stop Wailing,” he commanded. I did not understand. We were grieving. Yet, his voice beckoned obedience.
He continued. “She is not dead. She is asleep.” His words made no sense. How were we supposed to believe that she was only sleeping?
Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. He walked over to her and took her hand. The same limp one I had held. And he commanded her to get up. I stared in amazement at what I witnessed. Her eyes opened, and she stood up!
He not only healed her, he defeated death!
Who is he?
I grabbed her hand. The one that had felt clammy and lacked any presence of life earlier. This time her fingers, warm with the blood pulsing through them, bent around mine. I watched her breathe; her chest rising up and down. My girl was alive!
How do you grasp that reality?
I couldn’t save my own child. Jesus did. I think all of us felt a taste of that restoration. I couldn’t wait to tell others what I experienced. However, Jesus quickly ordered us not to share. It didn’t make sense.
But earlier he didn’t make sense either. Yet he spoke and acted with an authority that commanded trust. It was unlike anything I have seen on this earth. Jesus saved. But not in the way I expected—there is more to this mysterious man than my senses could explain. I saw, I heard, and I long to understand this miracle I just witnessed.
This post is inspired by the account found in Luke 8:40-56.
Only a week ago, a weekend full of multi-sensory worship began the “annual” reflection of Jesus’ resurrection. As a pastor, I am familiar with the challenge of trying to bring the message found in the resurrection to those in our midst in fresh ways. Truth is Truth. Yet, in a culture that is surrounded by plenty to veil the raw implication of Jesus’ invitation to Kingdom living, the truth loses its urgency. Reframing the account of Jesus’ resurrection gives us new perspectives.
Traditionally, the Holy week observances exhort us to reflect on events of Jesus’ last days. Typically, we recognize and recount Jesus’ death and resurrection.
But what about Saturday? Why, as Christians, do we brush off that “extra” day? The Jews recognize Saturday as the Sabbath day. However; for those of us who follow Christ, the Sabbath transitioned to Sunday. Perhaps the implications of what that in-between day meant to those closest to him do not even cross our minds. We know what happened on Sunday. But I’m guessing they were left:
Reeling from the gut wrenching events witnessed the day before. Had the words uttered by Jesus as they lived under his leadership adequately prepared them for the reality of his crucifixion? How do you set aside the images captured in your mind? On what do you draw in order to move your legs forward from their state of “paralysis?”
Pondering why they felt compelled to risk everything to follow this man who claimed to be the Messiah. Certainly others had claimed the same title in the past. Yet, what were the convincing characteristics of Jesus? Peter, in his second letter, reflects on what his eyes observed.
16For we did not follow cleverly devised fables when we made known to you the power andcoming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we wereeyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice from the Majestic Glory said to Him, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”…
Hoping: that Jesus was right. “I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.” (John 15:18-20)
Believing: All the promises poured over them by Jesus including: “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” (John 15:25-27)
Can we not empathize with the disciples as they wrestled with the tension of faith in the face of dreams unfulfilled? It points to our humanity. One that cannot grasp the unfathomable character of God.
In visiting my great nephew a few weeks ago, I was reminded of the stage of human development when the existence of objects (and people) within a baby’s sphere, only claim existence if they are seen. Anxiety appears in the wide eyes of a five month old when the mind realizes the person in view is not the parent. Their sustainer, provider, source of life. The mouth begins to quiver, the eyebrows furrow and tears form in the pockets of the lid….until a rotation of the body points to the one whom for whom they long.
Perhaps, like an infant, our eyes and mind, and heart often find themselves disconnected. Have you ever heard the Holy Spirit speak to you a word about your future but later find your ability to see it waning? Dreams planted in your heart that seem to have failed to bear fruit?
Like the disciples, we are left wondering and seeking Jesus. Though our hearts bear evidence of an undeniable connection, our eyes fail to sense him. We haven’t rotated our view. We are looking at the place we expect him to show up. But he hasn’t moved. We’ve been consumed with waiting for Jesus to appear according to our assumptions.
If we are still, we will live into that moment of transition from quivering lips and teary eyes to abundant rejoicing at the reunion. And the reminder that our perspectives fail us. He is always here.
Where have you been expecting to see Jesus? How can you rotate your view?