Those moments we dread, when it seems like the rug is pulled from beneath us and we are left stunned. The shock of dreaded news leaves us gasping for air as much as an understanding of what just happened. Our “best” response is usually our knee-jerk reaction. But it doesn’t have to be………
What if our best response was what Jesus immediately advised after such news? What if we could suddenly hear how He told us to respond when we felt blindly hit out of nowhere?
How did He help a panic-stricken parent?
We are blessed to have an eye witness account of just such an experience. Jairus, the synagogue ruler, came to Jesus desperate for the healing of his little girl. He fell at Jesus’ feet as only a panic-stricken parent could do- frantic for help. Mark 5:21-43 NIV sets the scene for us.
What happens in verses 35-36 is riveting.
While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
Ignoring what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Jesus looked straight at the man and answered with two bold statements. They would probably be some of the last knee-jerk reactions possible! Nonetheless, the words most needed by that father were given him by the most qualified person of all time.
He was privileged to have immediate feedback when life brought him to his knees.
What did Jesus advise?
No one can accuse Jesus of over-complicating the matter. He was short and to the point of what this father needed to do.
Don’t be afraid
At first glance, these pieces of wisdom seem easier said than done. How does one implement this practically?
I think we can look at what Jesus did Himself if we want to learn how NOT to be afraid. He “ignored” what they said. That is the first step and equally tempting to underestimate.
To refuse to give in to fear, we must first process the reality before us through faith. Jesus was asking this father to respond counter-intuitive to what he had just been told. In other words, don’t let that be what drives your thought process. So in essence, the father was advised to determine what to avoid with his attention.
Well then, what should he focus on? That’s the next piece of advice- belief.
Jesus was telling him that in order to get through that horrifying moment, he needed to ignore all the panic bells going off inside of him and focus instead on what he knew of God- His All-Knowing, All-Loving, and All-Powerful nature.
What this requires is a conscious submission of that moment in time, when all heck is breaking loose yet we submit it to a Sovereign God who has pledged His eternal care and responsibility for us. When we are facing unexpected turn of events, we are to consciously choose to ignore the obvious and instead trust Christ with the reality before us.
How this played out in my life
It was a year ago this month. It started like any other workday but it certainly didn’t end like one. I remember as I first began to sense something was wrong, with unexpected words from someone coming at me quickly, I inwardly prayed for Christ’s support. As I took in the shocking news, the Spirit was already doing His job.
As the words processed in my head, the strength and grace I needed came quickly. To this day, I am amazed at how I took in the news and responded to a less than desired way in which the event was handled. On one hand, I felt betrayed and even shamed by the way in which it unfolded. But Christ was that much stronger in His response for me. By inwardly turning to Him as I experienced the outward event, He met my need abundantly!
I chose at that moment to basically ignore what was happening TO ME and instead, believe what God had FOR ME.I chose to basically ignore what was happening TO ME and instead, believe what God had FOR ME. Click To Tweet
Because of Christ, I was able to truly respond to the worst news of my work-life with uncommon grace. In hindsight, I could not have asked for a better response to what totally caught me off-guard.
I may have been unaware, but I was not ill-prepared. By God’s grace, Jesus enabled me to be strong and courageous. I was not afraid because I was convinced that He was able to handle this news for His purpose and my good. Unlike Jairus, I didn’t get a miracle that day but I will say I have thanked God a thousand times since it happened. God knew what He was doing and in hindsight, I am SO GRATEFUL!
My testimony with this event, as with many other times, is that God can transform them in ways far beyond my hope for a different reality. He can take the “worst” and turn it into something good as only He can.
When we ignore what is screaming for our frantic response, turning to Christ inwardly to trust Him with the event, we are able to forgo the fear and wait for our own miracle in the making, whether it is IN US or FOR US.
So the next time you are tempted to freak out over what is going on before you, remind yourself the most important knee-jerk reaction- BUT GOD!!