Each morning we wake up enveloped in an assumption of well-being – that of course we will breathe another breath; of course we will have a bite to eat before work; of course work (with its paycheck) will be there waiting for us.
But then assumption is shattered by interruption – a rude hiccup in the rhythm of well-being.
Perhaps the work is lost, and with it the paycheck, and perhaps with it, that small bite to eat to start the day. And before we know it, we’re pleading before God through snot and tears. But oddly enough, this interruption is often not the one that bothers us most. What bothers us more is when in our pleading we feel a pinprick of hope that God is about to reboot the rhythm of well-being, only to seemingly pull back and away. The company that seemed right on the edge of offering us a new job has “decided to go with someone else.” And now our renewal has been interrupted. Where’s the beauty in such madness – the madness of not one but two interruptions?
Luke 8:40-56 is a curious moment in the life and ministry of Jesus. Here we have a father, Jairus, whose assumption of well-being has been shattered – the richness of life interrupted by the dark circumstance of a dying daughter – so he pleads for renewal. And here we have Jesus, willing to whisper healing – in fact he’s on his way to the little girl’s house. But then here we have Jesus stopping short of his destination, turning to chat with a woman who has tugged at the fringe of his garment. And here we have someone elbowing their way in to the scene to inform Jairus there is no sense in Jesus coming to his home, for his daughter has died. And so here we have Jairus, a man caught up in the madness of not one but two interruptions.
Granted, we know the rest of the story – the beautiful turn toward resurrection it takes. But stand with Jairus for a spell in the moment of the second interruption. It’s easy to imagine him staring daggers through the woman who tugged at the fringe of Jesus’ garment – the source of more interruption. And let him stare, because if some beauty is to be found, it will be found in her and her story. Here we have a woman who twelve years ago stumbled into awful interruption – a sudden onset of hemorrhaging she has endured for as many years as Jairus’ daughter has been alive. Here we have a woman who has been on the precipice of healing at the hands of the world’s best physicians, only to see each remedy fall short – a litany of “second interruptions” worse than the first. But here we have a woman whose faith has endured, culminating in clutching the fringe of a miracle-worker’s garment. Here we have a woman healed (finally).
But not just “a woman;” Jesus says, “a daughter.”
Was it a revelatory moment for Jairus, the father of a dying daughter – the moment Jesus called the woman “daughter”? It should have been. And it should be for us as well. After all, it’s the only place in all four accounts of Jesus’ life that he ever calls a woman “daughter.” How can this be anything other than Jesus subtly, yet piercingly saying, “All about me are sons and daughters pleading for the cessation of interruption – begging the Father to reboot the rhythm of well-being.” And so wherever, whenever, and with whomever brokenness is put right – when “she” gains the healing or “someone else” gains the job, all while “I” wait a minute more (or more) – it is a beautiful thing worthy not of anger or jealousy or rage, but praise.
The theme of “having to wait” is lurking about in Luke 8:40-56, so perhaps a good slow-cooker meal is in order. My wife and I are fans of this take on tortilla soup: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/89539/slow-cooker-chicken-tortilla-soup/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=search%20results&clickId=cardslot%202.
And if you’re wise, you’ll make a little cilantro rice to go with it: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/238489/copycat-chipotle-cilantro-lime-brown-rice/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=search%20results&clickId=cardslot%2016.
For nearly 15 years now, I’ve found myself returning again and again to Brian Doerksen’s beautiful look at Psalm 13. It’s a haunting, but courageous statement about waiting expectantly for renewal. Give it a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR6z0mWpR8A.
Father, all about me are sons and daughters pleading for the cessation of interruption – begging you to reboot the rhythm of well-being in their lives. I, too, beg and plead. But as I do so, give me the eyes to see where renewal has come for my brothers and sisters. What’s more, give me the right spirit to celebrate with them – and thus celebrate you – even as I continue to wait. Because wherever, whenever, and with whomever brokenness is put right, it is a beautiful thing worthy not of anger or jealousy or rage, but praise. Amen.
Take a moment to consider where there is interruption in your life. Now identify a “son or daughter” who has experienced the same interruption as you, but has received the renewal you await. Thank God for their renewal. What’s more, celebrate their renewal with them over a meal (like, tortilla soup).
- Brian Lowery