Have you ever had a hurry up and wait experience?
I’ve been on several mission trips and these perhaps represent the pinnacle of hurry up and wait, whether because of two cultures meeting, however briefly, or because of the nature of the mission trip experience. When you walk into another culture, even one out your backdoor, you exchange what you’d like to get done for what other people actually need, and figuring out where those two meet takes time and energy.
The Biblical mandate of missioning itself — the going out to know and share the Word and life together, the conversing and building up of people and places to gather in His Spirit — has a hurry up and wait quality to it in general. God’s command to make disciples is urgent, for sure, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Hurry up…and wait.
I get the idea that people in the New Testament knew about hurry up and wait as well. In a time with no Wi-Fi, no electricity, and no indoor plumbing, I think waiting would have looked like hurrying to get water from the well, and waiting for your turn with everyone else in line for water; hurrying to prepare for someone’s arrival, while waiting for an unknown arrival time with no cellular data to alert anyone; waiting for the Messiah, the King, the Savior.
In today’s reading, there is a lot of waiting. Some expected, and some unexpected. At places in the story, as the reader, you want to yell, “Hurry up!” but goodness knows at the other end of hurrying, there would probably have been waiting anyway. And as always with waiting, we don’t have the fullest picture — only God does.
Please read Luke 8:40-56 below and consider, where is the waiting in this account? Maybe underline or jot down the people and phrases that indicate waiting. Who is waiting? Why are they waiting? And what difference would hurrying make?
40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.
As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians,[f] she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
49 While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” 51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52 And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.
Waiting would have changed this story entirely, or would it have? God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I don’t think He plays by the same rules we think of when we think of time. Resurrection proves that.
The crowd was waiting…
Let’s personalize that — People, with faces, and families, and needs, were waiting.
Luke 8:40 tells us right off the bat that people were waiting for Jesus – this healer, this hope walking around like an ordinary man. Did they know He was the God of Resurrection, the long-awaited Messiah? Maybe some did, but just as in our world, I’m willing to bet that pain looks every which way to find a Savior. It’s one reason we, like Jesus, look out at the pressing crowd called the world and walk right into it, sharing Who He is and the Hope He brings, His truth, His love.
A woman was waiting…
Twelve years, we are told, this woman waited and bled with no cure. She spent all her money on doctors and medicines, ointments and oils, relief that turned up empty and sucked away every last coin. Do you know someone who has been there? Health problems are no joke, and until you’ve had one it’s easy to think that it won’t happen to you, that your skin is thicker and your veggies are more potent. Let’s help people find Jesus before they are desperate, but desperation is a good place for Jesus to meet the people in our lives. With compassion, Jesus does not reprimand a desperate woman as she falls at His feet. Instead, He teaches her with one sentence Who He is and the place of faith in the midst of her trial.
A father was waiting…
All the while, there’s a poor father probably wringing his hands, wanting to yell, “We ain’t got no time for this!”
He too fell at Jesus’ feet, it tells us in Luke 8:42. He too cried out, spent tears I am sure, waiting for Jesus’ response. Jesus said, “Yes,” also in verse 42. He went. He could have stayed. He could have not pressed through the crowds. Jesus could have said no, and that’s a vulnerable place for Jairus to be in. It takes no small effort to set our will aside and place ourselves before God, asking for help. It’s vulnerable and that needs to be honored. Jairus is much like all of us in prayer, waiting for an answer. And He does answer. But sometimes, just like Jairus, there’s some very uncomfortable waiting.
Jesus was waiting…
Is it possible that God sees waiting a little differently than we do?
More than that, is it possible that God Himself is waiting?
God’s miracles are interrupted only by other miracles.
That doesn’t mean the miracle will look the way we expect it. Resurrection, to be honest, doesn’t always look the way we expect it to, but that doesn’t make it any less miraculous.
In the end, Jesus says in Luke 8:52 –
“Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.”
Jesus sees the world differently. God sees the whole picture and He is a waiting God.
He waits for us to get it. He waits for us to share Truth and Love and Life. He waits for our neighbor to come to Him. He waits for our children to come to Him. In the meantime, He teaches, He heals brokenness, and He touches lives and families.
What waiting are you experiencing in your life? What waiting do you see around you? Share with us today in the comments. Let’s pray together and lay it before our Resurrection God, and let Him fill us with new reminders of the Hope He gives.
Let’s hurry. Let’s wait. Let’s hurry up to share the message of life made new. Let’s wait with God to see what He’s going to do with it.