When Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, heard that his beloved daughter had died, he faced one final test of his faith. He was forced to look death right in the face. Imagine the chaos and confusion in his home when he and Jesus arrived. I see Jairus’ wife collapsing into his arms, crying, “Where have you been? It’s too late. Our precious daughter is gone!”
As was the custom of that day, paid professional mourners were weeping and wailing at the scene. Yet when Jesus saw it all, He said to the gathering, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping” (Mark 5:39). What was their reaction? “They ridiculed Him” (Mark 5:40).
Beloved, this scene illustrates what the Lord asks of us all. We are to walk straight into our place of confusion, with death, terror and mockery staring us down, and obey this word: “Be not afraid, only believe!”
We don’t know whether Jairus’ faith held strong or if his heart was crushed with fear. We only know that all were astounded by what took place next. Jesus took the dead girl by the hand and said, “Little girl, I say to you, arise. Immediately the girl arose and walked” (5:41–42).
We are to remind ourselves of Jesus’ words time and time again — in the face of hopelessness and death, when all possibilities are over and nothing can be done: “Do not be afraid. Only believe.” You may say, “But when I’m in pain, I don’t have the strength to believe. I’m too weak, too overwhelmed.” Even after many years have passed since meeting the Lord, we will still find ourselves praying, “Lord, You have to put faith in me. I can’t believe on my own.” But know that the Holy Spirit is faithful to do that work. He will never fail to do it. We must stand on God’s Word — in spite of all pain and grief, in spite of all weakness of flesh, as Jairus and the bleeding woman did.