Detours. Traffic jams. Road construction ahead. These are a few of the things I hate to encounter when driving. I like to get where I am going, even when I am not in a hurry. Each of these things often impede my ability to arrive at my destination in a timely manner. But they are in fact a part of life, especially when driving anywhere in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. I have often found that life contains its share of detours and interruptions as well. My well laid plans for productivity and efficiency are at times met with unexpected events that can frustrate my goals for the day or even for a season of life.
In Mark we read of what would appear to be an interruption to Jesus’ ministry. But as we dig deeper, we discover that even unexpected events have a purpose. Jesus is continuing His public ministry in Mark 5 when a prestigious man comes up to Him pleading for help. Jairus is one of the synagogue leaders. He is likely a well – respected and prominent figure in the community. His daughter is sick, very sick, and so he begs Jesus to come and heal his daughter. Jesus agrees and off they go to the home of Jairus.
But along the way another person comes to Jesus, but in a secretive and less assuming manner. We are introduced to an unnamed woman with some form of a blood hemorrhage. As a result of Jewish law this would have prevented her from participating in worship or even having physical contact with anyone else. To make matters worse she has battled this ailment, spending all that she has, for twelve years and has only gotten worse. And so, the woman quietly sneaks up to Jesus in an effort to simply touch his clothing in order to be healed. As her fingers grasp his outer garment, she feels the power of Jesus surge through her instantly healing her of a decade of pain. And so, she begins to slip back into the crowd, hopefully unnoticed.
But Jesus noticed. He asks out loud, “who touched me?” This sounded foolish to the disciples. Dozens of people in the crowd were bumping into each other resulting in countless people touching Jesus. But someone had touched Jesus in a different way. Someone had touched Jesus in faith. And so, after a few moments the woman comes forward and Jesus informs this woman her faith has healed her.
While this conversation is taking place, bad news arrives. Jairus’ daughter is dead. They are all too late. You have to wonder what the disciples, and even Jairus may have thought during these gut – wrenching moments. If only we had hurried. If only we had not taken time to interact with this strange woman.
But Jesus was not worried. His plan was still on track, even if it was unknown to everyone else. When Jesus set out at the request of Jairus He knew He would not be healing a little girl of a sickness, He would be raising her from the dead. And so, in the verses that follow Jesus does just that. He arrives at Jairus’ home with the disciples. He lovingly raises the girl from the dead to the joy and amazement of her family.
Our lives can be full of interruptions such as this. They mess up our well – planned days. Or they threaten our long – term plans and goals. Life often does not go as we expect. But these interruptions are intended to be a reminder that God’s agenda for our us may not always be what we plan on.
In his book The Sovereignty of God author A.W. Pink writes that a person of faith “looks at everything from His [God’s] standpoint, estimates values by spiritual standards, and views life in the light of eternity. Doing this, he receives whatever comes as from the hand of God. Doing this, his heart is calm in the midst of the storm.” John Piper also notes that God will at times frustrate our efficiencies and plans in order to help us rely more fully on Him.
So, as we plan our day, our week, or even make long – term goals let us keep them in submission to God. Let us be aware that God may have a ministry opportunity like we see with the unnamed woman in Mark 5. And when we encounter unexpected ministry opportunities, or when life does not go according to plan let us take the advice of A.W. Pink and remember that all of this is ultimately from the hand of God. Therefore, as Paul reminds us in Romans 8:28 God can and is using it for our ultimate good and His glory.