If I Were Jairus

What a wonderful stay at the St. Joseph Health Spa and Resort! I had excellent 24-hour room service, meals delivered 3 times a day, private room, full use of the health facilities, and the entire staff at my beck and call with just one push of the button. I was released from this fine facility on Wednesday afternoon after a week of rest and treatment.

I will spare you the details of my recent illness and trip to the hospital to get fixed. If illness does nothing else it focuses one's mind considerably on things other than the mundane. But through the groundswell of psychological noise, God is always able to make his voice heard. It might be in the offer of prayers from nurses and staff, or encouraging cards and visits, or in a Presence that one can sense.

Just recently I was preparing a Bible Study on Mark 5, where Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue of Capernaum, begged Jesus to come to his house and heal his dying daughter. I cannot imagine the intensity of grief a parent must feel as he watches his daughter's life ebb from her body. But there is another perspective in this story that occurred to me, and it served me well in the days that were to follow.

In Mark 5:24, we read that "Jesus went with him; and much people followed him and thronged him." If I were Jairus, I would have been a bit annoyed at a throng gathering, intruding, and indeed delaying the Master. My daughter is dying, time is of the essence, yet Jesus does not discourage the crowd.

And then a woman, a sick but despised woman, presses her way into the throng and touches Jesus, hoping to be healed by this simple act. And Jesus, of all things, feels the power going from him, and in spite of the urgency of Jairus' needs, stops the entire entourage to try to ferret out who it was that touched him! If I were Jairus (and I know my lack of patience well), I would have found myself pacing with clenched fists as this silly, little play acted itself out. Jesus wondering who touched him! My daughter is dying and needs him, and he is wondering about who touched him!

Meanwhile, the daughter dies. And I, Jairus, can only wonder what kind of Messiah this is who would lose his focus on a very present need over a minor detail.

I thought about this drama a lot as I lay in my hospital bed. I was praying, and many were praying, for the Heavenly Physician to intervene, but rather than intervention, things only seemed to get worse. Why was Jesus delaying? Was there some throng delaying his arrival, or was he too besieged by somebody else's requests? Does the universe require so much of his power that there is nothing left for me? The answer was the same for Jairus as for me. He wasn't delaying. He was there all along, in his own way and his own time he would bring things around. And his helping others would not hinder him from helping me.

Lenny C.

Excerpted from The Sabbath Morning Companion, February 6, 2004, by Lenny Cacchio. All rights reserved.