By Chris Martin
Faith is such a hard concept to teach. It seems so abstract, so contradictory in its definition of the assured reality of what we cannot see. “Seeing is believing”—that’s the phrase so many areas of our lives push us to affirm, as if seeing something is what makes it real. That’s what makes the biblical concept of faith so contradictory: “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith is the “proof of what is not seen” in a world where seeing is the most widely-accepted kind of proof. So the Christian faith is truly otherworldly. It feels foreign to the human understanding of truth and how we measure reality. The faith we are called to have as Christians is powerful because our faith is in the finished work of our God, not the future work of our own hands. It is this faith that pushes back the gnawing ache of fear, even amidst the darkest darkness of life.
In Mark chapter 5, we are introduced to Jairus and his daughter. A leader of the synagogue, Jairus comes to beg Jesus to save his daughter as she is dying. He believes Jesus has the ability to save his daughter, and Jesus begins following him to his home.
We don’t know much about Jairus or his daughter, but we do know he was a religious leader in the local synagogue. He likely had more money than the average person living at that time. Even the fact that he was a man, rather than a woman, gave him authority in his day. All of these things combined would have made him one of the most powerful people around—a stark contrast to the bleeding woman who grabs Jesus’s clothes as He is on His way to heal Jairus’s daughter.
When Jesus finally arrives at the synagogue leader’s house, people are clamoring, talking about how the daughter has died. Sensing fear in Jairus, He tells him, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe” (Mark 5:36). Jesus proceeds to tell the crowd in the house that the girl is asleep, not dead, which draws mockery and laughter from those in attendance. Jesus then goes to the girl, takes her hand, and says, “Little girl, I say to you, get up” (vv.41–42).
What is it that we are desperate for the Lord to fix in our own lives? Do we think it is impossible for the Lord to intervene and answer prayers we pray in the midst of mockery and doubt? Faith is the antidote to fear. When we fear evil and its effects on our lives, we lack faith in God to overcome the world, but He already has (John 16:33). The Lord has not forgotten us, and so whatever it is we fear, we must take heart: He is already near and He loves us.
Written by Chris Martin