Mark 5 includes the story of a little girl, the daughter of a well to do Jewish leader named Jairus. Jairus is a prominent leader in a local synagogue. For the most part, he is likely to be well respected and well connected. He knows how to get things done and who to go to when he has a problem. But this time, Jairus is desperate. His daughter is really sick. People with him think there is no hope and urge him to give up and not bother Jesus. But Jairus will not be stopped. He begs Jesus to come to his house and help his ailing daughter.
When Jesus arrives at the house, people are mourning. It is too late. While Jairus went to find help, the girl has died. Jesus says that it is not too late, but the crowds have been there and know the truth. The girl is dead. Jesus is simply wrong. In fact, he is so wrong that they start mocking Jesus for his claims and his statement that the girl is not dead but only sleeping. They know she is dead. Jesus is too late. Jairus’ trust in Jesus has been misplaced. There is nothing to be done and no one that can help.
Jesus is undeterred by their skepticism and their sarcasm. In fact, he may even be encouraged by it and fueled to work as a result. This is a chance for him to show who he is and what he can do. As the crowds laugh at him, he goes in the house, takes the girl by the hand, and asks her to get up. She does! And everyone is amazed.
In their amazement their laughter turns to “ecstasy.” They are beside themselves with joy. Jesus has done the impossible.
This should be a story of encouragement for all of us who now work to continue the ministry of Jesus. Sometimes we are up against issues and problems that are huge. The odds are stacked against us. People who have good intentions tell us not to waste our time. Others might even laugh at us and crack jokes at our expense. Why waste good energy doing something that isn’t going to work any way. Accept reality for what it is and move on to something else. But because we don’t work on our own – we bear the presence of Christ with us – we see and act differently as a result. When people see something insurmountable, we see a place where only God can act. Our lives instruments of God’s actions, we listen for God’s guidance and act with the confidence of Christ. In the process, children are mentored, the hungry are fed, the lonely are comforted and the world is changed. Once in a while, we see mocking laughter turned into amazement and joy.
Yes, sometimes the odds seem stacked against success. But where God is working and God’s people have faith, sometimes the impossible still seems to happen.