Abiding in Faith; June 5, 2018

Mark 5:36 Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

The Gospel of Mark is widely agreed to be Peter’s recollection of events, essentially dictated to Mark. It was the earliest of the Gospels, and was used as a source by both Matthew and Luke. As such, various little details have a ring of authenticity, including the fact that Jesus spoke to the little girl in Aramaic, rather than in either Hebrew or Greek. In this verse, I like how the Japanese translates it better than any English translation I can recall. The Japanese says, “Overhearing what they were saying, Jesus….” What the men said was addressed to Jairus. Jesus didn’t ignore it, but precisely because He heard it, He told Jairus to believe. This verse is the basis for the song, Only Believe, which we’ve sung here many times. Here too, the Japanese has a slight difference in nuance, saying, “be believing.” Faith isn’t a momentary thing, but rather a state of mind, of being. In our weakness we tend to believe one moment and doubt the next, so Jesus is saying to reject our doubting fears and abide in faith. Just as Jairus was rewarded for his faith, so too our faith will be rewarded, even if we don’t see that reward with our physical eyes. Hebrews 11 gives many examples of people who walked in faith, but then wraps up with what many would consider a rather disturbing statement: “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40) Like Jairus, sometimes we do see results, and even spectacular ones, but our faith must not be predicated on such results. Rather, we need to trust that in God’s hands, the ultimate outcome will be more glorious than we could imagine, and rest in peace in that assurance.

The past year and more has been fairly intense training in faith. Things haven’t turned out so far as I had rather intensely desired, but I am receiving more and more peace that things are going to be very good indeed. Many of the mechanisms by which God is going to work His perfect plan are still a total mystery to me, but that should hardly be surprising. My place is to trust and obey, listening actively for what the Lord is saying to me day by day and being quick to follow through with whatever He indicates He wants me to do. My mind still tends to dwell on things like finances, but I have told many people over the years, finances are never an issue for God, since He created everything in the first place. I am not to focus on the means, but rather on the task at hand, to do it faithfully. We are receiving good advice and guidance in the process of creating an album of music to help people who are suicidal. There will be expenses involved, but that’s not at all what we are to focus on. We are total newbies at this, but God is indeed guiding step by step, and we’ve just got to tag along, not being passive but actively doing what He shows us. The same may be said for every element of our lives!

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help us indeed exercise the faith You’ve already given us so that it may grow strong and robust, accomplishing all that You desire for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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