Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: No Fear, Just Faith

As a child, I was afraid of what could be lurking under my bed when the lights went out at night. It began when my oldest sister got married (I was 8 years old). All of the sudden, I found myself in my own room, sans my little sister. Every night after hitting the light switch, I would make an Olympic-worthy leap into my bed, pull the covers up to my chin, then tuck the sheets around the sides of my body. I was fully protected from anything reaching up from under my bed to grab at me during the night. One night my father observed my impressive long jump and tuck. After complimenting me on my stupendous athletic ability, he asked why I was tucked in so tight. Hesitantly, I told him about the potential scary things under my bed. Then he laughingly told me that no one or no "thing" could get past him to hurt me. I could stop worrying because he would protect me no matter what.  My dad was big and strong . . . and he assured me he could wrestle any hairy-armed beast who even tried to get in my room if there even was such a thing. I remember feeling so much better. I trusted him and knew he loved me. I'm sure once in a while things scared me in the dark, but I knew if I screamed loud enough, I would be saved! Does this scenario sound familiar? No matter what fears we may possess, Christ is always there to wrestle those "monsters" away if we trust in Him and His Love for us!

Today's Gospel (Mark 5:21-43) shows that genuine belief in Jesus can heal any difficulty we may face:

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him and a large crowd followed him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said,“If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, Who touched me?” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”  Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”  which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.

In Volume One, Anne a lay apostle describes how despite any ordeal, solace can always be obtained by complete reliance on Christ:

"I love Jesus and during the most difficult times of Lent feel a nearly physical sense of realigning my will to His, despite the most horrid spiritual afflictions and angst. There is nothing else for me anymore. The world holds little solace. Often there is no comfort to be found anymore on this earth. No person can console me. Nothing. No food, no comfort. I am alone in a crowd, even of like-minded souls. It’s dreadful to experience but the fruit is a spiritual leading with your chin kind of feeling or stepping out into the darkness with faith. It does toughen you and I can see that now. I hate it, make no mistake. The people around me must benefit, though, from this proximity of mine to Christ. I am afraid that through the suffering I will be unable to complete my duties at times. But no, He gives me that. He sees to the details in the most remarkable of ways. I cannot fault Him, and as I say, there is nothing else but Him. I rely on Him for everything."

Lay apostles, what are you afraid of? Are you hesitant to completely rely on Jesus because His answer might not be what you want to hear? Or, His path for you may take you out of your comfort zone? Ok, I am going to be blunt . . . stop being scared of the hairy-armed monsters under your bed!!! First of all, they only exist in our mind because of our lack of trust in Jesus (I am being hypothetical here . . . I sure pray there are no such things!). Second, listen and believe in what He tells us in the Bible and the Volumes.  He is ALWAYS by our side to protect us. That doesn't mean we won't get hurt at times, or that terrible things won't happen to us. The beauty of faith in Christ is the healing we receive because of it, as the woman in the Gospel demonstrates. The time is now. Believe!

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me that I become afraid when I'm not trusting You fully. 

God bless,

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