The cry for help comes in different forms. Sometimes, you see it when the eyes are downcast and tears cascade down the cheeks or because the shoulders are drooped and the hands hang limply at the side of the afflicted one’s body. At other times you hear it when the troubled person cries out for help because the suffering soul cannot be silenced in its moment of distress. Whether spoken silently or spoken audibly, the cry comes. The cry can be heard. Those who are arrested by the cry hear the call to action. Love demands and love responds. Help is on the way.
Recently my grandson came upon a season of crisis. Challenges without and stress within produced a difficulty that rose beyond his ability to overcome without the aid of others. Graced with a family that is tightly woven together with the cords of love, he was immediately surrounded with help. Who of us has not been thrust into similar circumstance? I remember my bad accident that demanded the ER, surgery, healthcare givers, and the support of my family. I recall this past year’s hurricane in Florida that threatened the security of my daughter and her family and that necessitated temporary housing, assistance with the basics of life, and emotional support. The cry for help comes at one time or another from each of us and to each of us.
The Bible tells the story of a man named Jairus. He was a ruler in the synagogue: a man of influence, a leader of the people, a helper of the multitudes. He had doubtless heard his share of tormented cries arising from challenging circumstances. The present day had brought him to his own calamity. His daughter lie severely ill and, apart from immediate intervention, would soon die.
Jairus lifted up a cry for help. His was an unconventional call but the emergency demanded it. Jairus knew about a healer in the town whose name was Jesus. However, the rulers in Israel had not approved of or affirmed this man. Jairus’ companions would condemn their preeminent leader violating protocol, departing from the agreed-upon propriety, and breaking from the religious correctness. But Jairus could not stifle his cry. The muffled silence demanded by his position could not be suppressed. The aggrieved father sought out the healer and fell at his feet in worship. “I pray thee,” the needy man cried, “come and lay your hands on my child that she may be healed.”
Jesus heard the cry. Jesus agreed. The crowd was large because the multitudes had heard of Jesus’ miracles and also sought him for his boundless mercies. But Jesus followed Jairus. Jesus was motivated by his cry. Along the route, word came that the child had died. Those who carried the news suggested, “Don’t trouble Master anymore; your daughter is dead.”
One can hardly imagine the emotional pit into which those words must have cast Jairus. Could he even hear or comprehend the words which Jesus uttered, “Be not be afraid; only believe.”
This journey toward wholeness may have begun by the promptings of a father’s desperation but the momentum shifted. Jesus went from being led by the needy to leading the needy; from being persuaded to help to persuading that his help was the answer no matter the level of desperation. Love had placed the demand and the greatest love had responded. Help was on the way.
The story ends with the child being raised from the dead. Jairus’ daughter received an even greater miracle than the cry of her father had requested. Whether the synagogue leader would be accepted by his peers or not did not factor into the joy released when Jesus answered his cry. What a story! What a truth! Our cries for help only initiate a process. Our helpers stand ready to walk alongside on our road to recovery and ensure that we reach our victory. To my grandson and to all of us whose life’s journey brings us to an edge of calamity, may we be surrounded with those who aid. May Jesus journey with us. May we find new life at the end of our difficulty.