One of the great hallmarks of Christianity is the belief that God took human form and came to earth as Jesus, voluntarily experiencing the slings and arrows of human suffering. Importantly, Jesus’ human experience also involved entering into the suffering of others. He wept for them, his spirit was troubled over them, he was angry on behalf of other people. And, as he did with the synagogue leader, Jairus, he walked with their sorrow and their grief. His example suggests that the human experience is not limited to knowing about the highs of joy and the lows of suffering, but also about being with others as they experience those highs and lows.
When Jairus approaches Jesus and begs for his ailing daughter to
be healed, Jesus requires no more explanation and demands nothing from the man, not even repentance. Neither does he offer speeches or suggestions. Jairus asks for help. So, the Scripture says, Jesus went with him (v. 24).
This story reminds us of Jesus’ presence in our most dire moments. But it also reminds us of our very human need for connection. Jesus teaches his followers that he is present when we care for the least of these. And sometimes the least of these are the people who are walking through deep valleys of fear, pain, and loss.
Perhaps we don’t have the power to heal others as Jesus heals Jairus’s daughter. But we do have the power to walk alongside them. To do this, we don’t need fancy prayers, or any words at all. Being present means being attentive to others as they experience sadness, and, like Jesus, being willing to walk with them.
How could we walk with the people in our life who need a companion?
God, may we learn to walk with others when they need someone to accompany them. Amen.