It is What it Is...
but what if it's not?
One phrase that I have allowed to slip into my conversational vocabulary is, "Well, it is what it is." Usually, it's accompanied by a resigned sigh and an implied, "Suck it up, buttercup."
It makes sense, then, that as I pondered the account of Jairus in Mark 5, this emotionally acquiesced phrase bubbled to the surface. In the unfolding story of the ministry of Jesus, we are told of a synagogue leader who presses his way through the crowd to plead with Him to touch his 12-year-old daughter. "He begged Jesus, saying again and again, 'My daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so she will be healed and will live'" [verse 23 NCV]. In responsive mercy, Jesus agrees.
While on the way, Jesus heals a courageous woman who also pressed through the crowd. Just as He affirmed her faith, people from the synagogue leader's house arrived on the scene, blurting out to Jairus, "Your daughter is dead" [verse 35]. If that wasn't harsh enough, they callously added, "There is no need to bother the teacher anymore." In my recent vernacular perhaps it would read, "Well, it is what it is, Jairus. Sorry, buddy. Give it up and let Jesus get on to more pressing issues."
And here is where the story could end: A less-than-compassionate pat on the arm and Dr. Phil-ish counsel of, "I know it's a painful reality, Jairus. This journey of grief is going to be difficult... but you need to face it and start making funeral arrangements. Chin up, my friend, it is what it is."
Can you relate? Perhaps you are facing a situation of deep disappointment. And your starting place of trying to emotionally and spiritually process this seeming defeat is a circumstantially-compliant, "It is what it is." Or, maybe you are using that phrase to obligatorily convince yourself to get out of bed each morning knowing your sense of expectation has drowned in the weariness of molasses-like monotony.
If you have uttered that phrase, may I offer you a word of hope? It comes in the form of a question that the Lord asked me: "It is what it is... but what if it's not?" Oh, I know, it seems very real and there is this "the great and powerful Oz has spoken" kind of finality to it all. But, what if the "it" you are perceiving actually "isn't?" THAT is the hope this Scripture passage offers to me.
You see, Jesus "paid no attention" [verse 36] to their "it is what it is" assessment. Instead, his answer to Jairus, and perhaps to you today is, "Don't be afraid; just believe" [verse 36].
Upon arrival at the home of Jairus, Jesus audaciously clears the room of those who mocked His reassessment of the circumstances. He then takes the parents, and Peter, James, and John to the little girl. Tenderly taking her by the hand, Jesus unapologetically calls her to life. And to everyone's astonishment, she not only stands up but also begins to walk around the room! [verse 42]. You see, sometimes, even though we think, “it is what it is” ...sometimes it isn't.
Perhaps today, God is inviting you to revisit your assessment of a particular situation. Indeed, He may well reaffirm what you understood Him to say, "It is, indeed, finished." If that's the case, be released with a deep sense of peace and with the confident assurance of His blessing. Amen. So be it.
However, He may whisper afresh to you, “Do not be afraid; only keep on believing” [AMP]. If so, may I offer two further words of encouragement?
Firstly, when Jesus invited the naysayers to exit Jairus’s house, I am not sure it was a polite and hospitable escort to the front door lingering with hugs, handshakes, and a warm, “thanks for coming.” Instead, many translations use a less tidy, more intentional tone indicating that Jesus “threw” them out or “sent” them out. I submit to you that if Jesus has asked you to believe, you may have to silence the naysayers of fear, doubt, worry, and anxiety in the very same manner. Sometimes you have to "put them all out" [NIV] of your thinking. Recognize, Beloved, that the only way to get rid of a lie is to replace it with the truth. Temporal lies need to be displaced by eternal Truths. What has God said about your situation? Through what particular Scriptures has He spoken? Meditate on them with your ears open to the voice of the Spirit!
Secondly, Graham Cooke has said, "God wears a funny [odd, peculiar] watch. Though He seldom chooses to be early, He is never late." Precious one, as you “keep on believing,” know this. God will not be late. “Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go” [Proverbs 3:5-6 TPT].
Amazing one, Christ invites you to abide, rest, and remain in Him. Exhale and allow the Holy Spirit, His breath of peace, to fill your lungs. "Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!" [Romans 15:13 TPT]. Amen.
If you are interested in more reflections from this passage, visit my blog, Go Ahead, Bother the Teacher.
Here is a beautiful song of reassurance called Shepherd that has been a source of comfort as God invites me to reassess some circumstances I had categorized as "It is what it is."