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LENT | Waiting

02.25.18 | by Melinda Bouma

LENT | Waiting
Mark 5:21-43

Wait. Hurry up. Wait. Hurry up.

That has felt like the rhythm of many of my toughest seasons. I want things to hurry up; it only seems all the slower for it.

I wanted my husband’s thyroid surgery to just be over already. To hear the words, “we got it all! No more cancer.” Instead, I got… waiting. Taking longer than planned. It was not simple. You need to make a choice… stop the surgery or keep going.


The first three months of my second child’s life. I wanted time to pass, and pass quickly. I did not want to go through the experience of a premature baby’s special care and needs. The sleeplessness and constant feeding of a smaller-than-usual baby (let’s be real – it would be sleepless and constant no matter the baby). Hurry up, I said. Wait, was the response. Wait, and see the goodness and beauty of this time, of smoothing off the rough edges as I sanctify you through the waiting.

Waiting is a tool, a refining. It is a painful tool at times, but a deliberate and precise one at that.

It’s hard to go through the waiting. Whether it’s for the acceptance letter to the school we want, or for a spouse or child we deeply desire, a job or promotion, a restored relationship, physical healing from pain. We want it all to hurry up. Right now.

In our reading today in Mark 5, it is easy to place our focus on the woman who needed healing and who was willing to risk everything by reaching out to touch Jesus. There is much to unpack there. But I am struck in this Lenten season of waiting and expectancy, of how Jairus must have felt when his daughter died because he was waiting. He was waiting on Jesus to arrive, and yet Jesus stopped to talk to this woman who was healed.

I picture Jairus pacing around and thinking ‘hurry up – let’s go. Leave her be.’ Or ‘that woman – she is in the way of my needs being met and my daughter being healed.’ And Jesus responds with, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:36.


Wait on me.

Wait on my timing.

Don’t fret. Don’t be anxious. Simply believe. Trust.

If what I see in my social media world and talk about with my girlfriends is any representation of the world at large, waiting is so not our forte. We want everything now – we want life to hurry up, to get better, to make us happy, to give us the perfect job, family, health. Perfect hair, skin, body. Yet, how much sweeter is anything when it comes after the waiting! How sweet the love and thankfulness that brims up in my friends who have had to go through intense waiting for children. How much my friends cherish their marriages and relationships when they have waited years for love, having walked the pain in the waiting. Even women I know who have been healed of chronic, acute pain.

When it does not happen quickly enough, we feel like Jesus is delayed because he is busy healing others. He has stopped on his journey to care for our needs by caring for the needs of those around us—or so it seems when everywhere you turn someone is praising God for his care while you’re wondering if he still is en-route to you.

Just as in Mark 5:24, when Jesus responds to Jairus’ pleading to save his daughter by going with him, we also need to wait and believe. Jairus had tangible proof that Jesus was going to come save his daughter. Jesus left the crowd gathering to hear him talk, to follow Jairus to his home. This act showed his promise to help Jairus. Yet when Jesus was stopped by the woman touching his robe, Jairus’ daughter died, and his friends immediately came and told them there is now no point in coming to the house. It is too late.

But it’s not a zero-sum game – the healing of the women with bleeding was not at odds with the healing of Jairus’ daughter. That is our limited human view to think Jesus had to choose.

What if that played out in our lives today? What if when God moves in the lives of someone else, while we sit waiting for our answered prayer, what if we saw the reality that His movement in their life does not mean he cannot also move in our life?

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Jesus still had his perfect will and his plan to save Jairus’ daughter. His friends saw the commotion with the woman as something that hindered Jesus from helping Jairus. Yet for Jesus, it was simply a part of the journey to helping the young girl.

My prayer for you today is not to see the waiting as a delay in God helping you – but to instead remember that Jesus never lets anything get in the way of making good on his promises to you.