BY REV. JORDAN GOWING - CROSSWINDS CHURCH, EFCA
When is the last time you were desperate? When is the last time you found yourself at your wit's end no matter how hard you worked or how much effort you put in? While it is hard to admit, desperation is a part of being human. We aren't all-powerful, we aren't all-knowing, and so when things outside of our control occur, it is a great (though very painful) reminder that we are not as powerful as we have deluded ourselves into thinking we are.
Mark 5 tells us a story of two desperate people from opposite ends of the social spectrum. One (Jairus) had his life together, respected by all in his village. He was one of the leaders in his church (technically synagogue), he was moral, he was successful, he was a civic leader, and he had a beautiful family. There was just one problem: his only daughter was dying and there was nothing he could do to help her.
The other was an anonymous woman on the fringes of society. She was an outcast, unmarried, abandoned by her parents, childless, living in poverty in her search for a cure. The religious and social climate of the day was such that she had no friends or people to care for her for 12 long years. She needed help, but everything she had tried had failed.
Two people, nothing in common, except one thing: in their desperation, they were driven to Jesus. They needed something that was beyond their own means to provide, and so they run to the only one they think may possibly be able to help them. But Mark 5 isn't just a story about coming to Jesus when you are desperate and need him to help you out. It's also a story that reminds us that Jesus knows us and our situations better than we do. He knows what we need better than we do.
The unnamed woman came to Jesus hoping for a quick, anonymous cure. If she could just be healed, then she could begin piecing her life back together. Jairus came to Jesus hoping for a quick, simple cure to save his daughter. Then he could get back to his life. Both of them wanted to get in and get out, but Jesus knew they needed something deeper from him.
This woman didn't just need a cure. She needed a family, and so Jesus gives her one, making her a part of his family. Jairus didn't just need a cure; he needed to realize how little control he had of his life, but that God had control of every piece of it. Jesus helped him to realize this too. Both of them were desperate, but they had no idea how desperate they truly were.
Oftentimes when we come to God in desperation, we don’t get what we want. But we will always get what we need. In his great love for us, Jesus may let us walk through incredibly difficult (and desperate) times, and yet through it all he will be with us. Could it be that God is trying to teach you something in desperation, something incredibly difficult and yet incredibly glorious?