The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (8:41-56)
There is nothing worse than seeing your children sick, suffering or in pain. It pulls the heart in a thousand different directions at once. For a parent it is difficult. Yet there is something that is worse. I cannot begin to imagine the thought of losing a child. Imagine the pain and anguish of having to bury your own child. It is a tragedy that is beyond words or comprehension. Yet we meet with this scenario in the gospel reading today. Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue has come to Jesus for help. His beloved daughter has fallen ill and she is dying. So this man, this father, who loves his daughter dearly, and would easily give his own life for his daughters, does something that could cause scandal within the jewish community since he has a high position in the synagogue. He falls at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ and begs Him to come to his house and help his daughter.
Each of us gets into a rut or a routine and sometimes we also do that with our relationship with the Lord. We go through the motions, we might do enough to check the boxes but often we don’tpress further and go past our comfort zone. Sometimes we don’t seek God genuinely from the depths of our heart unless we are at a true point of despair. It might be that this is what happened to Jairus. He hit rock bottom as he saw the life fading from his precious daughter’s eyes. So he cried out to the Lord from the very depths of his being.
We should know that if we humbly cry out to God from the depths of our being, if we pray like everything depends on that prayer, if we put our heart and our focus into our prayer, the Lord will be listening to us as He listened to Jairus. He will be present with us in the midst of whatever we are facing. Will God always answer our prayers? Absolutely. Will He always answer them in the way that we want? Absolutely not. One of the silent prayers that the priest prays during the divine liturgy is “Fulfill now, O Lord, the petitions of Your servants as may be most beneficial to them, granting us in the life the knowledge of Thy truth, and in the age to come life everlasting.”
God is interested in being present with us and helping us. He wants to answer our prayers, but there is an important point we cannot neglect to mention. Not everything that we pray for, not everything we desire is beneficial for our salvation. So if God doesn’t answer your particular prayer it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t exist or that He doesn’t care about you. He cares for you deeply. He loves you more than Jairus loved his own daughter! The Lord wants the very best for you. Sometimes that means that He doesn’t answer our prayers exactly as we hope for. Sometimes He doesn’t answer our prayers exactly when we expect them to be answered. Sometimes the answered prayer comes much later than we would have expected. But who can know the mind of God? Thank God that He answers our prayers in precisely the way that He chooses, because His way is better than anything we can imagine.
Each of us has faced or will face dismal situations in our own lives. Situations that are terrifying, difficult, painful, nearly impossible to handle. Be comforted my brothers and sisters., be comforted. Christ our Lord will never ever leave us or abandon us. But don’t you leave and abandon Him either! And never doubt His power to change your difficulties or to redeem them and to restore us and help us in our struggles. That is what happened in the gospel. When the Lord came to the house where the young girl had died, people were gathered and followed the custom of wailing and lamenting the loss of this young child together. And when the Lord told them that she was not dead but sleeping, they laughed in the Lord’s face! Let us not be faithless like these mourners and wailers in the secret place of our hearts. God is in the business of healing what is broken and working what seems impossible in our lives. First and foremost, He aims to heal our spiritual brokenness and restore each of us to spiritual life and health. He aims to bring us back from the dead.
What the Lord did in the life of this little girl is the same thing that He does for those who desire to grow in Him. They come broken, but they leave healed. They come with sins, and they leave forgiven. They come to Him as dead men and He alone has the power to bring them back to life, for He is “the life and the resurrection.”
His love for us is much more than we could imagine. May we take hope in His love and care for each of us. Jairus came to Him, broken, and hopeless but he fell at the Lord’s feet. What the Lord said to Jairus, He also says to each of us, no matter what we are facing in this life: “Do not fear, only believe.” And glory be to God forever AMEN.