Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.

…..While Jesus was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”   (Mark 5:22-24, 35-36)

2020 is over. We praise God to have made it through. At the same time, we do not merely want to survive but learn. I am certain God taught you as He did me. It helps to voice those lessons. 

Here are a few lessons I learned through this past year:

  1. God is faithful in our weakness. 
  2. We must praise God in the middle of the storm. 
  3. God desires our communion with Him above our work for Him.
  4. Our work for God must flow out of our communion with Him.

These lessons will change my approach to 2021. As we process the lessons of the past year, we also need to keep looking forward and keep our eyes on Jesus for today. That is where this opening quotation of Jesus’ interaction with Jairus becomes so significant. Jairus in desperation went to Jesus for help. His daughter was dying. Then unexpected delays came because of the crowd, and someone else came from his house, announcing that Jairus’ daughter was dead. It was over. 

And yet it was not over. Jesus was not dismayed by the news. At the moment of Jairus’ greatest despair and heartbreak, Jesus tells him — “Do not fear. Only believe.” 

There have been disappointments, challenges and loss in 2020. There will be more in 2021. Jesus’ words to Jairus also apply to us. We can be tempted to give way to fear, but Jesus wants us to believe. Most specifically, He wants us to believe in Him, that He is God and has the power to raise the dead or bring us through suffering and death safely into His presence. That is one of the key messages of the book of Mark. That also brings me back to my second lesson from 2020: God wants us to praise Him as the storm rages around us, not just when it is over. He is with us. He promises, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

As we begin 2021 with uncertainty about the days ahead, we can know again with confidence that same God who raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead is with us too, and able to bring us through whatever this year has in store. Do not fear. Only believe.