Summary: At times there seems to be little that we can hope for in our lives. These are scary times. God comes to us in these circumstances, gives us hope, and changes things.
Matthew 9:18-26 “A Healing Touch in a Hopeless Situation”
The loss of a job without any prospects of a replacement, a grim diagnosis with no encouragement of a positive outcome, a shattered relationship with no expectations for forgiveness and reconciliation, and a financial loss with no hope of recovery. These situations and others like them are all too common experiences for us. These are broken times, painful times; times when we need God’s healing touch.
The passage of Scripture that we read today tells the story of two people who were in hopeless situations. We can easily identify with them.
JARIUS AND THE SUFFERING WOMAN
Jarius comes to Jesus and pleads with Jesus to save his daughter. Mark and Luke record that his daughter was near death. Matthew writes that Jarius’ daughter had died. It was a hopeless situation that drove Jarius to Jesus. This situation forced Jarius to swallow his pride, as a leader of the synagogue, and approach a man whose ministry and teaching he opposed.
On the way to Jarius’ home, a woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. She had been hemorrhaging for twelve years, a condition that made her socially and ritually unclean. She had visited many doctors, healers, and quacks, but none had been able to give her any relief. Jesus was her last hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.
The woman was healed. The young daughter of Jarius was raised from the dead. Hopeless situations were turned into occasions for celebration because Jesus entered the situation and touched lives.
We face hopeless situations; times when we can only look to Jesus—to his love and grace.
GOD IN THE MIDDLE OF SUFFERING
There are times when God does not answer our prayers immediately. A piano teacher experienced paralysis in her right hand that left her unable to pray the piano. Playing the piano and organ were her life and the paralysis put an end to her life long musical aspirations. For five years this paralysis occurred at least once a year. She dealt with it through a cycle of surgery, rest, and recovery. Just as she resumed her piano playing, the paralysis would occur again. In anger and frustration she turned away from God, but God never left her. Her situation got worse and she was told that she would never play the piano again. Christian friends surrounded her in prayer, support, and unconditional love. Eventually she returned to God and within a week she met a doctor who was able to cure her after twelve operations over three years. After another year and a half she returned to playing concerts. Her trials had not only kept her a pianist, but had also made her a woman of strong faith.
There are times that our prayers are not answered by God in the way we want. A young couple lost their child at the age of 199 days. During her brief life, they had pleaded with God to heal their child, yet in the end she died. Their faith did not take away the pain of their loss, but it did keep them from despair. On reflection the couples writes, “God. allows good and bad into our lives and we can trust him with both. . . Trusting God when the miracle does not come, when the urgent prayer gets no answer, when there is only darkness—this is the kind of faith God values most of all.”