Friday, September 25, 2009

Talitha koum (Jairus' story)

She was dying. She was just twelve. I didn’t care anymore how it looked. I could pretend that I didn’t believe to save face in front of the other leaders, but it wasn’t about saving face anymore. My little girl was dying. There was no hope besides this Man. I may lose my position. But it didn’t matter. She was worth it. I couldn’t remember life before her. She was the sun that lit my days. Her smile could melt even the coldest heart. But now her lifeless body lay on her deathbed. She was only twelve. She would never see thirteen. Unless….

But that Man was here in town. I had to leave my little girl’s bedside to get to him. That was the hardest thing I would ever do. I heard that He was coming back across the river….if only I could get to Him and ask, and He would heal her. There was word that He healed the sick, cast out demons, made blind see and made the lame walk. He could certainly breathe life back into my precious daughter’s lungs. I wasn’t sure about this Messiah thing, but I knew He could heal, and that was all that I needed. So I ran as fast as I could. I left the wailing and weeping crowds outside of my house. I kissed my wife as I left, cradling her chin in my hands, and I promised her that this Jesus was real, and that He would bring our little girl back. With tears streaming down her face onto my hands, she nodded, mutely.

There He was, with the three that were continually with Him. His was the face of hope. This was the man who healed in my temple. He was the one whom I had wanted to kick out. He was too much of a spectacle. He had led too many of my followers astray. He was a heretic. As a whole, we wanted nothing to do with Him. Now I wanted everything to do with Him. Let Him be a heretic. Just as long as He can save my child. So there I was. I had never flung myself at anyone’s feet before, let alone the feet of one of such controversial teachings. And I lay before Him, as a slave! I knew all He would have to do is touch her. I had seen Him do it before. She had a future, and it was slipping away. I wanted this Man, whoever He was, to give life back to my little girl.

He conceded. I was speechless. This man, Jesus, was following me to my house!! My baby will live! We will have tomorrow with her, and the next day. She will become a teenager, and then a beautiful woman! She will have children, and we will hear her sing again and see her dance again. She will play and run and be filled with life! Hallelujah! And, yes, I will believe in you, Jesus. If you save my daughter, I will turn my world inside out. You can wreck my world. Take away my position in the church. Even take my life for hers. Whatever you want. Just give my daughter back her life.

Wait! Why are we stopping? What?? He felt someone touch His robes?? Listen to your disciples, Jesus. It doesn’t matter. People are crowding in on you. Everyone is touching You. I need you to touch MY daughter. Please, don’t stop walking. We don’t have much time. Time may have already run out! Oh, there she is. That is that woman who is contaminated. We don’t touch her. NO! We don’t have time for her now. My little girl needs Jesus. Now, Jesus is talking to this woman….she is healed….another miracle….ok. That’s enough. It is my little girl’s turn.

I see them in the distance. My stomach drops. I can’t see them anymore through the cascade of tears. How did I get down on the ground? Don’t tell me. PLEASE don’t tell me…. I will order you to be killed if you tell me….she isn’t dead. She can’t be dead. She was breathing when I left. She was talking yesterday. She was running around and dancing three weeks ago. NO!! She can’t be dead. JESUS PLEASE….TELL THEM. No, you can’t tell me not to bother the Teacher. He is the SAVIOR, and I WILL bother Him until my child is alive!

Then followed the cryptic words that replaced the words that I wanted to hear: “Do not be afraid any longer. Only believe. “

Ok. It was all that I had. All I could do was believe. There was no where else that I could place my trust. It was either believe or admit defeat. And I could not believe that she was dead. So I let Him lift me up from my crumpled heap and we walked forward toward my house. I was like one lost in a trance. It was the beginning stages of shock, so I followed, dumbly, blindly, mutely. I did not feel my legs. The only thing that was evident was the drum beat of my heart in my ears. My daughter’s laughter echoed in my mind. I could not allow myself to forget it. Oh, please God, allow me to hear her laughter in real life again.

We stopped again. Why did we stop? We have not entered into my house. Oh, all the crowds. Why are THEY wailing? She is MY daughter. Then Jesus responded to them with the most beautiful words that I have ever heard in my life. These words will echo in my memory as long as I live: “The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” I am still mute. Why are they laughing at Jesus? In an instant, they went from weeping to laughing. They don’t really care at all. Slowly anger flooded my vision. Then I saw Jesus, and He led me into the room. HER room. My wife’s face was contorted with the greatest sorrow I could ever bear to see. I wondered if mine looked the same. We were never meant to bury our children.

I forced myself to look at the bed. There she was. Or there was her body, lifeless, empty. But Jesus took her tiny, fragile, white, cold hand, which was swallowed up in His ruddy, carpenter’s hand, and He said, “Talitha koum.”

My heart leapt. My daughter immediately arose. The speed in which the color returned to her face was astonishing. She hadn’t stood in days. And now she was walking around. My head spun. For the third time that day, I fell to my knees. I heard the laugh. It was her laughter! She was alive! She was alive! She was alive! I peeled my eyes off of my beautiful ray of joy to gaze on the face of the One who gave her back to me. He saw my gratitude, and in His eyes, I could see the commission. My wife had already enfolded our little girl in her embrace, so I wrapped my arms around both of my girls. We wept. We all wept. Then we heard a little growl. It was her tummy. She was hungry….before Jesus walked out, He said, “Go get her something to eat.” I swept her up in my arms, and we followed her mother down to the kitchen to feed our daughter dinner, and we rejoiced that we would have the pleasure of feeding her many more.

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