I love the New Testament story of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was ill. He approached Jesus for help knowing He could heal her.
Jesus and His followers began the walk with Jairus toward his house.
It is on this walk that the woman with the issue of blood reached out for Jesus and touched the hem of his garment. Jesus felt her touch and stopped the procession. He found the woman, healed her, pronounced her clean, and used the moment to teach his followers.
For a long time, this surprised me. From my mortal view, there was simply no time to stop. Jairus was very clear that his little girl was nearly dead. Surely that warranted some urgency on the Savior’s part.
Why did He stop to heal a woman in the street? There are an infinite number of ways He could have healed her, many of which would not have slowed His journey. Every minute mattered. Jesus could have come back later and healed this woman. She had been sick for twelve years. What’s another day? Heal her tomorrow. Heal her with instructions from a messenger. Heal her just by letting her touch Him and don’t stop at all. Why was He so slow to help Jairus in such a desperate time of need?
Now, I won’t speak for Jairus. It’s possible, even likely, that he had far more faith and patience than me, but I often wonder what his thoughts were about Jesus stopping.
I’m fairly certain that had it been me, my exact thoughts would be, “With all due respect, Jesus, please hurry! I’m on a deadline. My worst fears are quickly getting closer, and I need you to come work your miracles right now.”
His daughter was dying. He knew this, and the Lord knew this.
This makes me wonder if Jesus stopping played a greater role than any of us realize. Perhaps the overlap was intentional, necessarily, and though certainly difficult, divinely designed.
In the scriptures, Jesus often comments on the faith of those He heals before providing a miracle. He commends those with great faith and encourages those who are lacking. In the case of the man whose son was ill, Jesus asked if he had faith and the father replied, “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.” Jesus did, and the son was healed.
It is not hard to imagine that our merciful Lord provides a way for our faith to be increased when our faith falls short. After all, He is eager to bless us with our righteous desires.
We can determine from the story in the scriptures that Jairus had faith sufficient for his daughter to be healed from her illness. It seems the Lord had an even greater miracle planned. Jairus’ daughter had died before he returned. And I suspect she would have been dead no matter how quickly Jesus had traveled there. Jesus intended to raise her from the dead, and likely new this from the start. But did Jairus have the faith for that miracle? If not, how could the Lord help him develop it before it was required?
Simply put, maybe Jesus delayed his arrival in order to provide a way for Jairus to increase his faith.
I don’t know what Jairus said to Jesus that day on the street so long ago when it seemed Jesus was slow. Perhaps he said nothing. But perhaps he cried, “Lord, please hurry. You are taking too long.”
If this was his plea, I imagine a loving Savior placing a gentle hand on Jairus’ shoulder and saying, “I am about to perform a miracle, the likes of which you’ve never seen. But in order to perform that miracle, I need you to have a little more faith. So be still. Walk with me a while, and come see what is possible for those who truly believe.”
Maybe the delay in Jesus’ miracle was the very thing Jairus needed for the miracle he was about to receive.
For those of us in our own trials who journey through difficult paths, desperate for Jesus to save us, it sometimes feels He is delayed. We may wonder if He is unaware of our deadlines or if He simply doesn’t care. At times we may question in what ways we have fallen short to be denied the heavenly help we need.
Remember: Jesus Christ is not a god of mediocre miracles. He will give you all we need and more. He is walking with you on your journey, and He knows in great detail all the pain this journey is causing you. After all, He suffered it too. He is on his way to provide the succor you so greatly seek in ways you cannot comprehend.
When the mortal deadline is fast approaching and the help is slow in arriving and it feels like He has forgotten us, when it feels like He doesn’t care about our problems and we fear that He will come too late. When he seems content to sit and wait while we sit and suffer, I remember these words. And while they were never spoken in scripture, they’ve been spoken to me time and time again. “I am about to perform a miracle, the likes of which you’ve never seen. But in order to perform that miracle, I need you to have a little more faith. So be still. Walk with me a while, and come see what is possible for those who truly believe.”