(August 5, 2021) Brian Bell shares thoughts of great hope…
I am sure like me, you have often read the well-known scripture which includes Jairus’s meeting with Jesus (Luke 8:40-50).
Luke tells us that Jairus falls at the feet of Jesus and asks him to come home with him because his only child, a 12-year-old daughter is dying. And that as Jesus went – walked –with Jairus he was surrounded by the crowds.
As the father of a daughter and three granddaughters, I believe I can understand how Jairus must have felt on that historic walk when he shared his concern about his daughter’s ill-health and his natural desire to do all he could for her well-being.
I can believe he was encouraged not only by the willing and no doubt compassionate response of Jesus but also how his heart must have been encouraged on the journey as he witnessed the woman who touched the hem of Jesus garment being healed. What a privilege it would have been to see Jesus in that situation.
Voice of despair
But… a voice of despair often comes after we have been greatly encouraged; perhaps when we have seen the Lord answer our prayer. It comes to challenge and shake our faith in Jesus and his word.
Despite Jesus agreeing to journey home with him for his daughter’s sake, and the experience of observing and hearing the miraculously healed lady, before Jairus reached home we learn that a message was brought to him that ‘Your little girl is dead, there’s no use troubling the teacher now.’ We can understand how this message about his daughter may have brought despair to Jairus.
I am sure all of us may be able to call to mind situations in our lives when we heard a voice of despair. A voice that is always from the devil, the enemy of souls, designed to lead us to discouragement, and may lead us to disillusionment.
As I read this account, it seems that Jesus didn’t hear this despairing message being spoken to Jairus. But Luke tells us that when Jesus was told what had happened, he spoke to Jairus with a voice of hope… specifically saying three things:
- Don’t be afraid – I believe it is significant that Jesus addressed some natural fear which he must have sensed in the heart of Jairus.
- Just trust me – encouraging Jairus to re-focus on the Lord to whom he had come for help.
- She will be all right – a confident affirmation from the One who is the healer to counter the voice of despair.
Voice of hope
If you’re reading this meditation, as believers we can still hear a voice of hope. Yes, sickness is very real for many… perhaps in our families, church fellowships or personal experience. Some believers may be struggling with difficult life situations. Some believers who were once active in the Lord’s service find they are no longer able. Some have known the loss of loved ones.
However, whatever your life situation may be, let me encourage you, because you can call on the name of the Lord Jesus and know the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Just like Jairus, you and I too can hear a voice of hope, because Jesus still says to us don’t be afraid, just trust me, things will be all right!
The great news here is that Jesus will walk with us through our problems… we can walk with him! I can look at my own life experience and know this to be true!
Voice of authority
We must remember this voice of hope is also a voice of authority, one in which we can place our confidence.
The writer of Hebrews 4:16 reminds us of this truth: ‘So let us come boldly (how to come) to the throne of our gracious God (where to come), there we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it (why we come).’
It is not that we deserve to receive grace from the Lord… God gives us that which we do not deserve. That’s why it is grace!
Many other scriptures speak about hope. However, in scripture it is a word used in the context of certainty – for example Hebrews 6:19, ‘which hope we have…’ This is certainty, not a vague future aspiration.
Voice of closeness
I believe everyone, believer or non-believer needs hope. Surely, we have seen that as the world has faced the challenge of the impact of Coronavirus.
To bring the matter closer to home, if we are trusting the Lord Jesus as Saviour, then we to are walking close with him. Just like Jairus we asked Jesus to be involved in our lives and he fulfilled his promise, not to turn away those who come to him.
This journey will involve many experiences, and, like Jairus, there will be encouragements as Jesus works in us and through us by the Holy Spirit. Also, like Jairus there will be times when we too hear a voice of despair.
I know a number of people (some in my own church fellowship) who heard that voice of despair when a doctor told them cancer had been found, in some cases terminal. We prayed for and supported these folk as they undertook a course of treatment. Jesus said those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do (Matthew 9:12, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31) – a recognition I believe that we should respect the skill and knowledge the Lord has given to those in the medical profession.
Do I believe the Lord can deliver what we call a ‘miracle’, a restoration of health beyond the scope of the very best medical science can achieve? Yes, I do, just as he did for Jairus’ daughter. But even if he does not move in that way for those we are praying for, he is still closeby and I (we) must still trust him.
Voice of comfort
Recently the Holy Spirit reminded me that we live in corruptible bodies, which one day will come to the end of life’s journey. For some it will come after a longer or shorter journey, perhaps after a period of illness. Just previous to writing this article, I received word of the home call of an aunt, a lady of 99 years and about six months short of her 100th birthday. She was not overcome by a specific illness, her journey’s end came as she slept away peacefully.
If you or someone you know is walking with Jesus and facing a situation which humanly speaking may seem to cause despair, let me encourage you, as I said earlier, Jesus speaks with a voice of hope!
Some words from the song Whispering Hope attributed to Alice Hawthorne, may also speak into the situation:
‘Soft as the voice of an angel,
breathing a lesson unheard,
Hope with a gentle persuasion,
whispers a comforting word.
Wait till the darkness is over,
wait till the tempest is done.
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow
after the shower is gone.
O how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.’
Let’s seek to keep walking with Jesus, with confidence in his comforting voice of hope and may it help us to rejoice even when we may face sorrow.
Brian Bell is a diaconate member, Christ Church (Congregational) Abbots Cross, Northern Ireland, and a volunteer with Disabled Christians Fellowship Ireland. He describes himself as ‘grateful for the privilege and opportunity given me to serve my Lord.’