Mark 5: 21 – 43 is for long-suffering, and dead situations. It’s a ridiculous story if we’re honest—the woman’s illness, defeated by science, and the dead little girl, time having run out; revived, released and reborn, with just a few words from Jesus.
Today, events in our lives cause us to question whether God has His limits— places and people He just can’t touch. In cases like the woman, ill for 12 years, unresolved no matter what she tried, it would be easy after a while to accept God as limited or not caring enough.
Certainly, hearing God is mighty would raise internal doubts and questions over His sovereignty. This passage is for us to read, ponder, accept, and breathe the truth into our own stories.
The sick woman worked for 12 years to fix her problem, and we’re told she spent what she had. So when Jesus came about, she like all others had heard about His healing powers. What did she do? Threaded her way through the crowd and pushed in between the throng of people to touch Jesus’ cloak. No demands for healing, petition to be heard, accusatory, defamatory or presumptuous talk from a woman who suffered many long years. No. she sought not to bother Jesus, but draw His power and healing through a touch.
Her act of faith speaks volumes about winning attitudes toward life, providence and expectations. Jesus rewarded her private practice publicly, and now we have a real-life account of what faith can do in a never-ending situation so that her suffering was not in vain, as well as a visual reminder of science’s frailties (over a decade in medical advancements still couldn’t help this woman) representative of man’s limits.
While all this happened, Jesus’s original mission to heal a dying girl, got delayed, and as a result, the synagogue leader’s daughter died. Oh dear. Can God not take care of simultaneous matters without dropping the ball on one? No. The day was set up to provide examples to Jesus’s believers then, and the rest of us more than 2,000 years later. God is mighty, revealed most especially in our “hopeless” cases, ones in which we ourselves throw up our hands and say, “you’ve finished me, Lord. I’m done. I don’t see a way through this. I am finished.” God Himself can be heard to say, “I have just begun.”
It is at our end, that God can be our beginning, and sometimes we need this experience to understand how great our God is. To have easily explained or mundanely provided for experiences as is almost always the case, hasn’t led us to more praising and believing, but justification and accreditation to idols other than God.
In our passage, Jesus says two things: get rid of fear, ante up on faith.
That’s a ridiculous response to a situation that doesn’t seem to change, or one in which it’s very dead. Jesus here asks us to lift our eyes off of the circumstances, and simply believe on Him. If the sick woman gave up a long time ago, the quick inclination to seek Jesus and touch His cloak would not have occurred. She was still open to opportunities and God rewarded her for this.
Jairus, the synagogue leader’s despair probably mounted as he waited for Jesus to finish with the woman and the crowd, so they could attend to his beloved daughter. When she died, it must have been bitter-sweet for him, to witness Jesus heal one person, and face the death of his. Yet, Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe.”
These words are hard to hear where we’d rather have our solutions, but once we grasp that in fact that is the solution, that our medicine is being handed over to us in a form that insults our ego, intelligence and sense of control—we win.