Read: Mark 5:1-43
the whole thing – yep – the whole thing.
Every day when you and I are out and about at work, at school, at the grocery store, at the ball field, at church – we are surrounded by suffering. Sometimes it’s obvious – but most of the time we’re oblivious to the suffering of the person sitting next to us. And they are oblivious to ours. But as Christians, even when life is hard we are steadied and held fast by the hope we have in Jesus. In deciding to follow Christ we’re invited into this story that’s still unfolding and sometimes it looks like all will be lost – but Jesus tells us in John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have (perfect) peace and confidence. In this world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain and undaunted)! For I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.) (Amplified version)
In today’s passage we have 3 stories of incredible suffering. In the story of the demon-possessed man, his suffering was obvious to everyone. His brokenness actually drove his friends and neighbors to cast him out of town to live in the tombs among the dead because he was a danger to others and himself. He spent his days in anguish, isolation and despair under the control of the evil spirits who caused him to lose everything he had, even his own mind. What immeasurable relief he must have felt to be set free. In a matter of a few short minutes, what looked hopeless was made new. Jesus has the power to set free – not just 2,000 years ago – but today, as well!
After Jesus goes back across the lake, he’s met by Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue who implored Jesus to come home with him to heal his little girl who was dying. I can’t imagine the suffering Jairus went through as he sought out Jesus and begged him to come to his home only to arrive there and find that his daughter had already died. But again, in a matter of minutes, what looked hopeless became a story of victory. Jesus has power over death!
The woman who reached out and touched Jesus’ cloak had her own long and painful story of suffering. She had been bleeding for 12 years. Physically, mentally, emotionally – she suffered and like the other 2 stories, hers would seem hopeless. But Jesus has the power to heal! And His touch makes everything clean.
It’s clear in Scripture and in our own experiences that in this world we will have trouble. Life can be really hard. And our enemy would love for us to lose hope and give in to despair, as if this is all there is. As if we didn’t know the end of the story. So if you’re in the middle of something hard, I hope these stories encourage your heart and I pray that our Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would fill all your broken places and bring you to the point where you can take heart and remember that Jesus has overcome the world.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you have the power to heal, to cleanse and you have victory over death. In my every circumstance, you are Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.