[This blog entry first appeared as an article written for Seedbed's Soul Care Collective. The vision of the collective is to provide resources designed to encourage individuals in personal soul care and to equip them to care for others within the context of their own vocation, all from a distinctly Wesleyan perspective. Please visit them at soulcarecollective.seedbed.com.]
Talitha, Koum. That’s the phrase that came to mind one morning as I listened for a reply to my question, “How should I pray for my friend’s situation?” Searching the Gospels, I found the phrase in Mark 5:21-43. “Ah, yes,” I thought, “That is what Jesus said to Jairus’s 12 year old daughter.”
Reading those verses, my heart was filled with faith and hope for my friend. However, as I lingered in prayer, God began to speak to some “Jairus’s daughter” circumstances in my own life.
Jairus, a leader in the synagogue, was afraid that his daughter was dying. Approaching Jesus, he asked Him to come to his home and heal her. While on the way, Jesus stopped and healed the woman with the issue of blood. I can’t imagine the depth of Jairus’s angst. Anxious prayers of “Can’t You hurry up?” would have come as easily as the tears in my eyes.
In His gentleness, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the many unspoken “Can’t You hurry up?” prayers I had uttered in my own heart. Disappointment rode in on the coat-tails of those prayers as I saw Jesus work so mightily in other people’s circumstances, and yet, stood waiting to see God move in my own. Can you relate?
Imagine the dismay, then, when Jairus receives the report from home, “Your daughter is dead. There is no need to bother the teacher anymore.” What a crushing blow. “Give it up, Jairus. It’s over. It’s done. It is too late. What you were hoping for is never going to come to pass. Don’t waste any more of the guy’s time.” Let me ask again, can you relate?
The story continues indicating that, “Jesus paid no attention to what they said.” Instead, He comforted Jairus saying, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Incredibly, Jesus made another extraordinary statement at Jairus’s house announcing, “The child is not dead, only asleep.”
Those consoling and yet audacious words sank into my heart. Would you let them saturate yours? You see, what if the final word has not been spoken about your situation? What if it’s not “over”? What if it’s not “done”? What if it’s not “too late”? Could it be that the omnipotent One who pays no attention to the anxious reports of humans, is saying to you and me right now, “Don’t be afraid; just believe… The child is not dead, only asleep”?
In an act of lavish love, Jesus took Jairus and his wife up to the room. *“Taking hold of the girl’s hand, he said to her, ‘Talitha, koum!’, (This means, ‘Young girl, I tell you to stand up!’)."
Would you be open to consider that the very thing you thought was dead may only be sleeping? Maybe Jesus wants to speak, “Talitha, koum” to long-neglected skills that were once finely-honed. Maybe “Talitha, koum” is to be spoken to the aborted vision for that empty plot of land. To the abandoned idea for that book, “Talitha, koum!” And maybe even to ‘that’ relationship, “Talitha, koum!” Hear the Spirit whisper to you in your own situation, “Don’t be afraid; just believe… The child is not dead, only asleep.”
"At once the girl stood right up and began walking. (She was twelve years old.) Everyone was completely amazed.” While we join with the daughter’s parents in amazement at God’s resurrecting power, the question is, “What do we do now?” Our next steps are as simple as Jesus’s instruction to Jairus and his wife, “give the girl something to eat.” Nurture and provide for that which was resurrected. Pull out that musical instrument, prayer-walk the perimeter of that empty lot. Jot down some of the thoughts that have been on your mind. Pray for an open door of conversation. I believe God will give you the strength for the next step.
Would you receive God’s grace today? What He spoke to Isaiah, He speaks to us, “Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me” (30:15 MSG).
“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21 AMP).
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