Summary: What might the story of the raising of Jarius' daughter look like if it happened today?
• Hear now the New Testament story of Jarius, the ruler of the Jewish synagogue. [Read Luke 8:40-56]
• What if that story took place today? Instead of Jarius, let’s visit with a Baptist minister by the name of Wallace. Of utmost importance is for each of us to notice how Jesus reacts to the needs of those in this modern day story.
• Well, here comes Wallace now. Let him tell you about it.
Thank you for being so kind to listen to my tale. I attempt to tell it every chance that I get. One afternoon a couple of years ago changed my life.
Where do I begin? – Let me begin with myself. I’ve had a lot of time to reevaluate my life and I’m not too happy about the person I used to be. – I was an important man. I was the kind of man that you would find leading prayer at the football game or serving as president of the Lion’s Club. I am highly respected in our community. I preferred to be addressed as Doctor.
I pastor the largest Baptist church in town. Our services are normally full. I am a fifteen-handicap golfer and the church bought me a membership at the country club to commemorate my twentieth year with our church. My wife and I have been frugal and we’ve bought a place down at the beach which we plan to retire to in another ten years or so.
Yes, I thought I had it made. – But as you know, things can change quickly.
I remember a black day over two years ago. Though I love people, I had told the church secretary that I wasn’t taking any calls or seeing anyone that particular morning. I wanted to be alone. The truth is I had been on the phone all morning. My need for time alone, however, had nothing to do with needing time to study. I needed time to weep.
I just stared at an 8X10 photo on my mahogany credenza behind my desk. Through watery eyes I gazed at my twelve-year-old daughter. Braces. Pigtails. Freckles. She was a reflection of my wife – blue eyes, brown hair, and pug nose. The only thing my daughter got from me was my heart and I had no intention of requesting that she return it. She’s not my only child but she is my baby – my only daughter.
I had built a fence of protection around my little girl. And that fence had crumbled. Six days earlier she had come home early from school feverish and irritable. My wife had put her to bed, thinking it was the flu. During the night the fever rose. The next morning we rushed her to the hospital. The doctors were puzzled. They couldn’t pinpoint the problem. They could only agree on one thing – she was sick and getting sicker.
I had never known such helplessness. I didn’t know how to handle the pain. I was accustomed to being strong and I didn’t know how to be weak. I assured everyone who called that my daughter was fine. I assured everyone that God was a great God and that He was in control. I assured everyone except myself. Inside my emotions were a raging river and the dam was beginning to crack.
It was after the call from the doctor, “She’s in a coma”, that I lost it. I reached for her picture and just held it. Suddenly, I began to speak out loud. No one was there, yet through my tears I spoke audibly. “It’s not fair! It’s not fair! Why a twelve-year-old girl? Why her, for mercy sakes?” Then looking out the window toward the gray sky I screamed, “Why don’t you take me?”
I got up and went over to the coffee table by the couch and picked up the box of tissues I keep handy for counselees. After blowing my nose, I looked back out the window. An old man was sitting on the bench in the courtyard of the church. I could see him throwing bread crumbs on the sidewalk for the pigeons to snatch.
“Don’t you know my daughter is dying? How can you act as if nothing is wrong?” my mind screamed. It was in the springtime that my precious daughter would wait in the courtyard every day after school, waiting for me to walk her home. I would hear her chasing the pigeons below and know it was time to go. I’d drop whatever I was doing and stand at that same window and watch her. I watch as she walked a tightrope on the curb around the garden. I’d watch as she would pick a wildflower out in the grass. I’d watch as she would spin around and around until she would become so dizzy that she’d fall on her back and watch the clouds spin in the sky. “Oh Princess” I would say. Then I would stack my books and headaches on the desk and head on down to meet her.