Summary: A word for those who have "lost hope" at some point and believe theirs to be a circumstance which no one else has ever been through. May this help you. This posting is a short Wed evening devotion which needs to be further developed
* Back in 1996, the church where I was pastoring received & responded to a company to lease pre-made television commercials which would be ‘stamped’ with our name.
* While we had many choices about which ads we would buy, we clearly understand that to enter the public arena of television, the production and quality of the product had to be first rate.
* As I recall they offered us a possible selection of about 12 -15 different spots out of which we chose to lease 6. As we made our selections, we chose each ad for a specific outlet or channel.
* There was one spot which in my opinion crossed all barriers & was the most though provoking. It pictured a man sitting in a room by himself with the camera coming up from behind him slowly. As the picture slowly panned past the man to show his dejected face, this was the voice-over; A men can live 40 without food, 3 days without water, and 8 minutes without air; but how long can a man live without hope?
* Have you ever met up with anyone who has lost hope? Psychologist and Psychiatrists tells us that a sign of being suicidal is a unusual peace, begin uncharacteristic expressions of love, and giving away personal items. Why? This person has come to terms with their perceived fact that they have no reason to live, in other words – hope is gone.
* In our text we discover people who have lost hope. Just for simplicity sake, consider 3 slices of this thing called, LOST HOPE.
1. The Reality of Lost Hope – In our story are at least 2 people who have come to the end of their rope, a father of a 12-year old little girl and a woman with a 12 year sickness. Nothing tears at our hearts worse than a child with a seemingly incurable disease. Children’s hospitals are overflowing with children who are facing, what seems like; incredible odds at survival are finding hope. To walk down the hallways of these hospital is to have you heart ripped out at the suffering of these little guys. Jairus’ daughter was the tender age of twelve and was dying. I dare say that dad had brought in the best doctor to treat her and it was all to no avail, it seemed only a matter of time. He had lost hope.
* Now enters the unnamed woman who faced a situation of her own. Honestly, men cannot know exactly what she felt because this was a menstrual issue, but we have watched out wives during those difficult times and remember how washed up and fatigued they felt after bleeding for 2 weeks. Can you imagine 12 years!
* We know she was down to her last hope because the scripture records that she had expended all her resources on doctors and “could not be healed.” Is there anything the takes hope away than the doctor’s words, “I can do nothing else for you.”? Jairus & this unnamed woman at the intersection of reality and hope. The question is, “What do you do or which way do you turn?”
2. The Response to Lost Hope – Many people, in this life, comes to the same crossroad. If you have never been there, count yourself fortunate because it is not a thrilling place to be, but MANY find themselves standing, looking, listening, and waiting to figure out what to do next. For the person outside of faith, they may become bitter, hard & harsh, and even shut the world out. They may turn to their favorite habit. It could be alcohol, tobacco, porn, or any of a myriad of things. They may decide to take it out on someone else. Sadly, for those who become mean, their first target is normally those closest to them like a mate, sibling, or offspring. Fortunately, these two came to the right place.
* They responded by coming to Jesus. For Jairus, this was indeed the last hope because, as a church leader, he was a part of the group who was vehemently opposed to Jesus. It is amazing how our hearts melt when tragedy strikes. Sometimes I wonder why God doesn’t take us not from one problem to another, but from one tragedy to another because in the face of tragedy, mankind seems to finally identify what is important and what is not. For Jairus, it took his dying daughter, to overcome his preconceptions about Jesus, and bring him face to face with Jesus, the giver of life, the healer of hearts, and savior of souls.
* While the woman responded correctly, there are many lessons for us to learn from her. The sick woman came, realizing she was sick and having faith the Jesus could help her. Don’t miss this part. I have been mistaken in my preaching for years. It was only today that I saw a stunning truth. She was not the only one who touched Jesus. When Jesus asked ‘Who touched me?’ The disciples basically said, “Master, are you crazy? Who hasn’t touched you? All of these people have crowded into to touch you.” She was the only one who wanted Jesus to do something for her and had the faith that He could. She believed that whatever was going on – He was the answer.