How many times this week have you prayed for things you need? Did you have a list of things in mind that you presented to God or one specific thing? Have you already imagined when and how the answer to that prayer should come? Well… this week It has become very obvious to me that this is how I pray. I either come to God presenting a list of things that I need or sometimes it is for one specific major thing. And a lot of times I already envision how and when that need is to be met.
While this approach makes me very specific in my supplications, it also leaves very little room for allowing for God’s sovereignty in my life- particularly when the answers do not come when and how I was expecting. In the past weeks I have been thinking about the story of Jairus and his request of healing for his daughter. So for context, there was a Synagogue Leader circa Jesus’ times who once approached Jesus to come home with him and heal his daughter who was sick. That was a very specific request Jairus had and perhaps he had imagined how this was going to go- Jesus would follow him home with a large crowd of onlookers following, then Jesus would publicly say a few word like ” take your mat and walk” or spit in some sand which he would rub on her, or maybe would command a demon out of her or better still place his hands on her and instantly she will be healed. Whatever Jesus’ methods, Jairus was positive that if Jesus came to his house, his daughter would be healed. So he set about carrying his plan into action. Step 1. Earnestly plead with Jesus to come home with him…CHECK. Step 2. Jesus would agree to do so… CHECK. Step 3. His daughter would be healed… ERRRM….. Hello Jesus! Why have you stopped to ask who touched you? There is a crowd around you and the focus is to get to my house and heal my daughter. Why have you stopped? Excuse me! Who is this woman with the issue of blood who is throwing a monkey wrench into my plans?
We can speculate about how Jairus felt about this interruption to his plans. I do not know what was going on his mind when Jesus stopped to deal with something else but I know how I would have felt and reacted. Even if I did not show it, I would have been seething inside. I would have been furious! I know because I have been here many times where it seems like the answer to my prayers have stalled and how I envisioned my prayers would be be answered is not panning out like I imagined. I might stay in this story for a few posts because there is a lot I have learned in the past few weeks but today I will just dwell on two lessons.
Lesson One: What you think you need may not be what God knows you need
Jairus came to Jesus with a need for healing. His daughter was sick and what he thought his daughter needed was healing and so he asked for healing. He aligned himself to receive healing. But somewhere between his request and his answered prayer, something went awry. Jesus stopped to attend to someone else and while he was doing so, Jairus’ daughter died:
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?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”Mark 5:35-36 NIV
Every hope of having his need met had just evaporated. He asked for healing and now the sick person was dead and so if you ask me, he had every reason to despair. But the truth of the matter was that Jairus’ daughter and family did not need to experience healing, their need was for more than just healing. What they needed was resurrection. Everything that was dead in their lives and in the lives of the people around them needed to have an encounter with the one who was LIFE himself. And so Jesus encouraged him: JUST BELIEVE.
Lesson Two: Jairus had to let go of his assumptions and expectations and simply trust Jesus in that moment of fear, doubt, disappointment, and maybe anger. And more often than not his is all we need to do- Just Believe. We do not need to speculate on or envision the how, where, when and who of our answered prayers. Just present our needs and believe that God who knows what is best for us, knows exactly what we need and will give us just that in due season.
…For your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!Matthew 6:8
Remember, just like we do not hear God when we have already decided what He should be saying, so do we not see His hand at work when we decide how our needs should be met. So this week, I had a hard time putting a title to this post. Now that you have read through the post, what is your takeaway? How would you caption this post based on what God is saying to you?