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Room for One
- October 10, 2017
- Jared Odenbeck
“While he 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 5:36-37)
Have you hit a dead end? Do you find yourself in a cul-de-sac with no where to turn? Are you squinting into the seeming darkness of uncertainty which looms in the near future?
Take heart, for “in him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). Yes, all things. I understand the implications of such a claim.
It implies that your dead-end, cul-de-sac, hopelessly wretched and despondent situation that you currently squint at, as you aim to discern the seeming impossibility that anything good might arise from it, is within the will of God. And that means that it is “good, pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Sometimes, God just closes doors for good (you can read more on that from Desiring God here – https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/sometimes-god-just-closes-doors).
But, sometimes, it’s an invitation to bank on him.
So, if it is you who asks, “Why trouble the Teacher any further?” (Mark 5:36). Let me urge you to come and trouble him further. I will tell you why. Rather, and far better and with far greater authority, I will let Jesus tell you why.
“Do not fear, ONLY believe” (Mark 5:36). Notice that Jesus renders fear and belief mutually exclusive. He does not say, “while you fear, also believe.” No. You cannot fear AND believe. There is only room for one. You either become paralyzed by fear, or you step into the unshakable confidence of belief.
Yet, there is plenty of reason to fear given the situation Jesus speaks into. When Jairus first approaches Jesus, the situation is troubling – his “daughter is at the point of death” (Mark 5:23). Now, it is far beyond troubling – Jairus’ daughter is stone-cold dead.
Even then, it is no time for fear. But how did Jairus conquer fear? How can we conquer fear? Believing conquers fear. But how can we believe when our circumstances rise ever higher and seem to almost swallow us? We must aim for increasing child-likeness. The degree to which we are childlike dictates our level of dependence on God as our LORD and our Father.
To believe (or to not fear) is to trust – fully, completely, perfectly – like a child. Really, when we wring our hands and clench our fists, it merely reveals our own unbelief. If we truly believe in the wedded promises of Ephesians 1:11 and Romans 12:2, we will rest in the sovereignty of God and not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).
As I step into my off-season and a time of uncertainty with my career, I invite you to join me in believing – believing that the LORD is good in all seasons and circumstances and that all things are under him.