Grace, mercy, and peace be upon you
from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the
text comes from the Gospel reading, but it’s the Old Testament that gives the
meat to what is said in the Gospel reading. You may be seated.
All of us are waiting on something.
Regardless of what it is, we are all waiting on something. And if we’re
middle-aged, maybe it’s a new job. Our Heavenly Father knows there have been
many men and women within our parish family who have been put out of a job and
are looking for others. Some have found them recently. Some have not. But
they’re waiting. They’re also waiting to make sure their bills get paid, that
the economy improves so that their retirement has something there to be retired
upon, and then they’re also thinking and waiting in terms of when should they
retire, or when can they retire.
If they’re younger, they’re
thinking in terms of waiting for high school to hurry up and get over, or
college, or to find that first job, to find the woman or the man who was meant
for them to be married unto. And then it’s waiting for the first birth of their
child, for the marriage of that child, for that child to find that place in
this world. And if we’re older, we’re waiting for our health to improve or
waiting for the next family get-together. We’re waiting for what’s next, or
we’re even waiting for death.
As God’s children, we wait all of
our lives. We’re always waiting for that next thing, whatever that thing may
be. And in that waiting period, it is when God sifts us and molds us and shapes
us and stretches us more than any other time in your and my life. That’s the
waiting game that we’re in.
When Jeremiah wrote, “It is good to
wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord,” he is a man who knows what it is
like to wait. Remember, Jeremiah was the one thrown into the dry well because
they didn’t receive his preaching, because he kept telling the people of Israel
about the impending seventy years of exile in Babylon that they were going to
have to endure, and they just completely pooh-poohed him. And he had to wait,
quietly. Although you know during that waiting time, did he struggle within
himself, and did Satan leave him alone? By no means. Constantly nagging at him
like a steady drip did Satan continually attack at Jeremiah.
The same for Jairus. My firstborn
was a girl, as well. And for us as daddies, my goodness, when our girl shines
with her smile, we really are putty in her hands. I can only imagine what
Jairus must have felt to see his little girl at twelve years old be very, very
ill and near death. We men, for better or for worse, are known for men of
action, and we get ourselves in trouble sometimes because we act before we
should think. But nevertheless, this Jairus was taking matters in his own hand,
and he had to rush to get Jesus. You and I as men would not put up with dillydallying
around if we wanted to see our daughter be made well and knew that He was the
one to make it happen. But what did Jesus do to this frantic father for the
blessing of his dear daughter but wait? Because no more had he been told the
news of his daughter’s impending death did Jesus then get completely thronged
about by a crowd, as the text says, so enthronged about that it slowed Him
down, that he couldn’t get to then Jairus’ house, which wasn’t just down the
street but almost a day’s walk.
And then in the middle of this
slowing down and waiting did Jairus have to see somebody else get in the way of
his daughter’s healing, and that was the woman who had waited twelve years,
twelve long years, twelve years that she never ever got to go to a synagogue or
the temple to worship but had to worship in her own home because she was
unclean due to the discharge of blood. And for twelve years did she spend vast
amounts of money, seeing vast numbers of doctors, and after doing so, she was
not better but the text said she actually was worse. But she had to wait.
It is in this meantime between when
we have cried out to God and when He answers us that there is this meantime,
this waiting game. Whether it’s for a job, whether it’s for our children to
attain our goals for them or their own goals, whether it’s for those things
that we have prayed for so fervently for ten, twelve, twenty years and are
waiting for its fruition, we are in this waiting game in this meantime. And
Some days, we’re the ones who are
on top and can say, “God be praised. He will bring it about according to His
will.” And other days, we are so overwhelmed with our own emotion and Satan’s
pounding incessantly at us and that we are, as we talked about this morning in
Bible class, like a crumpled rag in the corner of the room and only God can
pick us up and shake us and get us back on track. In that meantime and waiting
game is it very difficult to live out our faith, and yet, you know what? That’s
most of our life; isn’t it, because the moment that that prayer has been
answered, it’s over with. Done. But we’re still waiting for something else;
aren’t we. Very interesting indeed.
In the moments when we are
understanding God’s will as best as can be understood by us in faith, we give
thanks and praise to God, and we wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord
without burdens. We know that both for Jeremiah, for the people of Israel
during their seven years of exile, for Jairus, for the woman, their waiting was
Now, the glory at the end is the
glory in the text of the Gospel reading. All of us will be delivered at the
end. We know that because we are God’s people as Christians who believe in the
resurrection, that this world is not all that there is, and that we will win
and be triumphant, no matter how it looks like in this life. But in the
meantime, yes, in the meantime, the woman was healed. God be praised for that
healing. And our complete and total healing will come when we finally close our
eyes, in faith and trust, and die.
For Jairus’ daughter, it’s the
resurrection before their very eyes and your and my very eyes, and we will wait
for our final resurrection, as well. Can you imagine, and maybe you can because
you have seen it, but it’s not a very good or enjoyable thing to see, and that
is one of God’s saints who sits in a bed and can’t move and can hardly feed
himself or herself and waits for what? The same thing that we wait for as we’re
busy about working at jobs and earning money and making payments and saving
money, the same thing we’re waiting on. It’s just that, for that person, we can
see it. For us, we can’t, but God tells us we are to be ready at all times for
we know not when God will call us. Jairus didn’t know when his twelve-year-old
daughter would be afflicted, and yet, she was. The woman didn’t know when she
would be afflicted with this discharge, and yet, she was. And you and I, we
know not when we will be afflicted, and we can say maybe we’re being afflicted
right now. But in the meantime, God shapes us with His promises. That is all we
have, isn’t it….His promises. We don’t have promises from people in this life.
We don’t have even promises from family members, but we do have promises from
God. And it’s those promises that we trust in and will not yield to Satan’s
torments but will stand upon and be comforted as we wait quietly for the
salvation of the Lord.
It’s never easy to wait. Remember
that little nuance saying: “Patience is a virtue.” It’s a heck of a hard
virtue, but don’t worry. God will shape it in you whether you and I want it or
not. But He will not shape it in us without at the same time setting before our
eyes His answer. Listen again. He will shape us whether we want to be shaped
and wait or not, but He will shape us with, before our very eyes, His promise
to assure us He will deliver us. And that’s the yoke that is easy and the burden
that is light. That is the hope that God has placed within you and those two
young girls who can’t even say their name but can call upon God already and
whose flesh isn’t tormented like your and my flesh with doubts, with
inconsistencies and unfulfilled expectations, but they cry out with praise of
their God as they await when they can tie their own shoes…“No, Mommy, I do it,
I do it.” When they can feed themselves and so on. This waiting game in which
God has placed us has an end as we wait quietly for His salvation.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your
hearts and your minds on Christ Jesus to life everlasting.