In 2014, local police in Johannesburg, South Africa were patrolling an area as they were on duty one day when they heard desperate cries for help coming from below. Illegal gold mining is not uncommon, but often those who are involved pose the risk of being caught, or in this case, being trapped 80 feet below the earth’s surface. For days, over 30 men were trapped underground without food or water, waiting to be rescued or waiting to die.
Help and rescue did arrive! Medical teams, rescue, and police worked together to drop a sort of ladder down to these men. Several immediately climbed to the top and received aid. What’s incredible is that many who were trapped below began to refuse to be rescued. They realized that not only were they going to be taken to the hospital to be treated for any wounds, but that they’d also then be taken to the police station for their crimes.
Rather than receiving the help they needed, they refused to climb the ladder because of what it would cost. Help had arrived, help was available, and help was extended! But they refused to be rescued and take the next step forward.
In the Christian life, following Jesus never happens by accident. Spiritual growth taking place in our lives doesn’t happen unexpectedly or unintentionally. In Mark 5:21-43, there are three specific characteristics demonstrated by Jairus the ruler, and the unnamed woman who had the issue of blood. These two people were vastly different in their backgrounds, circumstances, and needs, yet both demonstrate three lessons we all can learn.
1) There must be Deliberate Decision. In spite of what it would cost, both Jairus and this woman made the purposeful, intentional decision to get to Jesus. Jairus, who went to Jesus on behalf of his daughter who was sick and dying, was a ruler in the synagogue. His reputation, prominence, status, acceptance, and even his livelihood were all on the line in going to Jesus, as the religious leaders hated Him. This woman with the issue of blood had spent all, and as labelled “unclean” in that day, was risking everything to press through the crowd in order to get to Jesus. Both Jairus and this woman intentionally decided to get to the only One who could do anything about their need.
What intentional step do you need to take spiritually? What specific decision has God placed on your heart that you just have not acted on yet? Maybe it’s getting involved in a ministry or joining a Small Group. Maybe it’s going through discipleship with someone, or taking the time to begin family devotions. Maybe it’s taking the Gospel across the street to a neighbor. Whatever your next step is, it won’t happen by accident.
2) There must be Determined Desperation. In spite of the press of the crowd and the ridicule they might face, nothing was stopping Jairus or this woman from getting to Jesus. They were determined, and they were desperate.
What need do you have that only God can meet? I would submit to you that we need
Him for far more than we realize or think. Coming to the end of ourselves brings a determined desperation for God in our lives. 2 Corinthians 3:5 reminds us: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” Jesus reminds us in John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
3) There must be Daily Dependence. More times than not, we have a daily reliance on self rather than a daily dependence on the Savior. Desiring to be healed, this woman thought: “If I may be touch his clothes.” How often is our greatest daily concern found in what we need to get done, rather than Who we need to spend time with. We often think things like: “If I could just get this project done. If I could just pay off that bill. If I could just get to the next season of life.” May we realize, like Jairus and this unnamed woman, that our greatest need is not found in what we do, but rather is found in Who we are with. Jeremiah 29:13 reminds us, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
As we go throughout our week, may we make the deliberate decision to spend time with God, have determined desperation for God, and a daily dependence on God. Spiritual growth doesn’t take place when I keep things back from Jesus, but rather when I offer all things to Jesus! Whatever your next step is, it won’t happen by accident. The ladder is there! Help is available! It’s up to you to start to climb.