Waiting in faith – Waiting with confidence
Mark 5:21-43

Today’s reading is blend of two stories; we have the story of a leader of the synagogue and his sick daughter interwoven with the story of a woman who has been bleeding for twelve years.  Both of these people come to Jesus with their problems, one walks straight up to Jesus and then falls down at his feet and virtually begs for Jesus to help him and the other makes her way in behind him and touches his cloak.

These two approached Jesus in very different ways, but both did so trusting and believing that Jesus would help them.  For both of them it was probably a last resort.  The woman had been bleeding for twelve years and had blown all her money on the best doctors and was just getting worse.  Jairus’ daughter was on her death bed, her time was near, she was only twelve years old and her dad was desperate, as you can imagine.  Jesus was the only answer in their time of affliction and they knew it and they came.

Have you ever gone to seek someone out knowing that they would have a solution for you?  We probably all have wise ones that we go to for specific needs; it might be a son or daughter who is good at sorting out issues with computers and technology or a trusted doctor or dentist or mechanic.  How good is it to know that when you pick up the phone or send them an email that there will be a reply and there is a fairly good chance that they will have a solution to your problem.  So you know what that feels like.

What about if you have to wait?  Maybe the person isn’t there or doesn’t answer the phone when you call or takes a while to send a return email, does that make you frustrated and annoyed, maybe even a little bit desperate.  Do you start trying to think of other alternatives or solutions?  Maybe you’d try and fix it yourself or go and find some additional help?  Jairus and the woman had already done all that and they confidently came, in faith to Jesus for his assistance in their desperate situation.  The woman had waited twelve years for a solution to her chronic illness, Jairus had to wait while Jesus spent time with her and the crowds before they walked to his house.

What is it like if you have to wait for a response, think of a time when you were stranded in your car by a roadside waiting for the RACV or RAA or the like to turn up, or waiting for an ambulance in the midst of a crisis, or even at a hospital emergency department as you line up with all of the other sick and desperate people who feel equally or more deserving of timely treatment as you or your loved one do.

Have you ever thought the same about Jesus, you know what I mean, where you’ve wanted him to step in and make your life simple again or fix an issue for you.  We have direct access to him through prayer, we put a call through to him when things get difficult and then we wait.  We don’t like waiting do we, we want to go and grab him on the hem of his cloak and give it a yank, “Hey Jesus, remember me, how about answering me, give me what I asked for”, but if we remember what is said in Lamentations, “it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”  We don’t understand it but it is often good to experience delayed gratification.  When we receive something we have had to wait for we are generally much more appreciative.

Here’s a little example, the other night my family and I went to a concert at the Palais Theatre to see one of my favourite cold at the gate at the rear of the theatre with about thirty or so other people who were confident that when she came out she would come and greet the people and sign autographs.  I was also hoping that her husband would be there too, because I was just as keen to meet him and get his autograph, he is after all the assistant captain of my favourite team in the National Hockey League in North America.

We waited perhaps half an hour, the band all left in their vans but the main artist had still not appeared, there were some doubts coming into our minds that maybe she had left already, but we waited confidently and sure enough out she came and got into the waiting van.  A bit like Jairus and the woman who had been bleeding we took matters into our own hands and called out to her and to her husband and lo and behold they got back out of the van and came straight over to me and asked if I had a pen that they could use to sign the jersey I was wearing.  Our wait had been worthwhile, we got to meet a couple of fine upstanding Christians who are both exceptionally talented and use their gifts for God’s glory.  As we were driving home we talked about the quiet confidence that we’d had as we were waiting there in the cold.

Now this is just an encounter with a couple of famous individuals, but imagine how much more worthwhile it was for Jairus and the woman, having waited and the come to greet their hero, their reward was immense, one was healed of an affliction that had lasted twelve long years and was getting worse, the other was going to experience the death of his daughter.  Jesus came through for them, it wasn’t their confidence or faith that brought it about, it was the power that Jesus has over all things.  He will act, in his time and according to his plan for us.  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Wait patiently my friends, rejoice in all that you experience in life, give thanks to God in all circumstances.  In Jesus there is life, life that is abundant and full of joy.  He wants that for all of us, we can be confident that he will provide it for us, in his time and his way, not in our time and in our way.  Wait patiently and continue to praise, thank and worship him.

Amen.