Welcome back to Wesley Seminary! We’ve been praying for you and trust you’ve been praying for us.
How was your summer break? I am convinced God is doing His best to get my attention regarding the subject of His timing, as opposed to my timing on things. During the past week the topic surfaced at least three times in the most unexpected ways. Do you think this has anything to do with being impatient or with wanting God to do things my way and/or at my pace? I suspect He was trying to call me on this during the summer but I must have been too busy! You think?
Divine Delay is the title of a sermon preached by one of my pastors and it messed me up! It all started with Mark 5 and a series called Hidden Meanings. Jairo (Jairus in English) has a daughter and she is sick to the point of death. What does Jairo do?
Meets up with Jesus | Falls at the feet of Jesus | Begs Jesus to come
There have been things in my life that caused me to desperately pursue Jesus, and fall at His feet begging for help. I’m sure you have those stories to share as well. Now the outcome of those experiences are different so what happens next in the story I find to be very fascinating!
Jesus says ‘yes’ to Jairo and they head towards their destination. On the way they are faced with a delay. Yes a delay! Can you imagine? It’s a people traffic jam! People everywhere! They could barely walk! Jairo checks his GPS to see if there is an alternate route (not really!) The only way is to push through the crowds so they make it to the other side. Imagine what Jairo is thinking?
Nothing else could go wrong! Nothing! One more delay could result in a matter of life or death. And then it happens…a delay…as if Jairo needed one more thing to increase his level of anxiousness. It’s a jab straight at his faith. The unexpected happens…Jesus stops! He stops to ask who touched me! REALLY JESUS? NOW? Really? Come on Jesus, the daughter is dying?
Well you know the rest of the story. It’s pretty dramatic. Brant (my pastor) asked: Do you think Jesus was really asking who touched me because he didn’t know? Was the question intended to increase the faith of the woman, disciples or the crowd? Probably all. Based on what happens to Jairo’s daughter, I also think it was intended to sift the faith of Jairo.
The sermon made me aware of something I’ll call suspicious faith. I’m sure someone has a better term but I will define it as: faith to a degree and/or faith with conditions or simply stated a faith that is skeptical. I am wondering if we live within an ecclesial culture that operates under a suspicious faith. We are afraid to pray for the sick…what happens if they are not healed? Demon-possessed…not delivered? Dead…big faith leagues, let’s not do that. Jairo’s faith could not fail him. It just couldn’t. He could not give up on Jesus, when he heard the news of his daughter’s death.
Really Jesus? Now? Jairo could have shifted blame on Jesus: Why did you let this happen to my daughter? Why me? Who could blame him? It is only natural to want to explain things in order to make sense of it. I know I do it all the time. This happened to me because ______. This would not have happened if ____________. In leadership terms we call this Attribution Theory (look it up). I got an ‘A’ on this paper because I worked real hard (internal attribution). I did not get an ‘A’ on this paper because the professor did not return my call (external attribution). I attribute this to me (internal) or it’s because of someone else (external).
I’m sure we will naturally experience a dose of attribution theory this semester as we try to explain some of the things that happen with assignments and all that fun stuff. We may get away with explaining some of these things with attribution theory. However, there are others that require a supernatural response, which calls us to abandon the suspicious faith.
Just like Jairo our faith will be sifted…Really God, now? Some of you may be in the sifting of faith right now. Should you find yourself wanting God to move at your pace or wondering why you’ve not reached the expected destination, go ahead and take advantage of the program. Examine and assess where you are in terms of your alignment with ministry and God’s calling upon your life. Jairo did not go to the lake prematurely. The woman with the flow did all she could. As my pastor says we must be accountable for our faith. Through it all have patience…don’t be in such a hurry! (Childhood flashbacks!) God has His own timetable and His timing is not yours (mine). God did not heal Jairo’s daughter. He raised her from the dead… Divine Delay.
I can’t help but think about what happened to Pastor Jairo and the ministry at the synagogue. Oremos los unos por los otros.
P.S. By the way did you notice all the ‘falling at Jesus feet, begging Jesus and the different kinds of fears’ in this chapter? Did you also notice the woman was sick for 12 years and the daughter of Jairo was 12 years old? I love the Bible! So good!