I am a worrier. I worry about my health, my children, my husband, my job, my house, the economy, the environment—well, you get the point. Worrying makes me feel productive, like I have a bit of control in situations that make me feel powerless. When I travel, I cannot control the pilot flying the plane or the weather—but what I can do is worry.
Even I have my limits, though. Last year, a loved one experienced an injury requiring emergency surgery. Living several states away with young children, I was unable to fly to his side immediately. I felt sad, guilty, and—you guessed it—worried. I couldn’t heal him; I couldn’t be near him. So what did I do? I worried. I walked around in a haze, barely noticing a thing around me. Eventually, I reminded myself, “Your body is here, so your brain may as well be, too.” Worry wouldn’t add a minute to my loved one’s life, nor would it guarantee his healing. I turned my energy toward prayer, requesting strength for my loved one’s journey, and for myself also.
Jesus offers Jairus similar encouragement when he hears that his daughter has died. Do not fear, says Jesus, leading the synagogue leader back to his daughter’s side, only believe (v. 36).
Belief is the very opposite of worry. While worry frets over a possibly negative future, belief hopes for a positive one. And so, what else could Jairus do but believe?
Jesus doesn’t say exactly what to believe. I think that’s because he’s not talking about doctrine. This is a faith that allows Jairus to put one foot in front of the other, to step into the most frightening of situations with the belief that hope exists in the path forward.
When does worry seem more comforting than belief? How do we allow a bit more hope to enter in?
Lord, may this day be filled with less worry and more hope. Amen.