Read: Mark 5:1-43

Focus:
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.

I want to share the lyrics to a song I love – it talks about how things can sometimes look pert-near hopeless (as it did in our scripture today), but that we need to remember that it’s love that wrote the play. If you have a few extra minutes, read below – I hope it makes you smile.

Show the Way – David Wilcox

(You can also watch it here though the video quality isn’t great)

You say you see no hope
You say you see no reason we should dream
That the world would ever change
You’re saying love is foolish to believe

‘Cause there’ll always be some crazy
With an army or a knife
To wake you from your day dream
Put the fear back in your life

Look, if someone wrote a play just to glorify
What’s stronger than hate
Would they not arrange the stage
To look as if the hero came too late?

He’s almost in defeat
It’s looking like the evil side will win
So on the edge of every seat
From the moment that the whole thing begins, it is

Love who makes the mortar
And it’s love who stacked these stones
And it’s love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we’re alone

In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it’s love that wrote the play
For in this darkness love can show the way

So now the stage is set
Feel you own heart beating in your chest
This life’s not over yet
So we get up on our feet and do our best

We play against the fear
We play against the reasons not to try
We’re playing for the tears
Burning in the happy angel’s eyes, for it’s

Love who makes the mortar
And it’s love who stacked these stones
And it’s love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we’re alone

In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it’s love that wrote the play
For in this darkness love will show the way
Show the way, show the way

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