Romans 4:18 says of Abraham: “In hope he believed against hope.”
Against all earthly hope, Abraham believed in God and placed his hope in Him. Even though from the human perspective his having a son with Sarah was impossible, Abraham chose to hope in the God “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom. 4:17). Abraham believed in God’s power and promises. When all human hope was lost, he still hoped in God. And God gave him Isaac.
In Mark 5:21-43 we find two desperate people who hoped in Christ when all earthly hope was lost. Jairus’s twelve year old daughter was on the brink of death. He fell before Jesus and pleaded with Him to come heal his daughter. But before Jesus could reach her, she died.
On the way to Jairus’s house, a woman with chronic bleeding approached Jesus from behind. She had suffered for twelve years and had exhausted her fortune on physicians who only made her condition worse.
Both Jairus and the woman were in hopeless situations. His daughter was gone. Her condition was permanent.
The woman secretly touched the garment of Jesus, hoping she would be healed. And Jesus did heal her. When He turned and called her out, she fearfully fell before Him. Jesus commended her hope-filled faith and sent her away both well and at peace.
It was then that the news reached Jairus of his girl’s death. They told him not to bother with Jesus anymore. But Christ ignored them and called for continued faith from Jairus: “Do not fear, only believe.”
Jesus arrived at Jairus’s house and proclaimed, “The child is not dead but sleeping.” Many scornfully laughed at Him. But Jesus was referring to the temporary nature of her death. This was only momentary; she soon would be reawakened. So Jesus took the girl’s hand and commanded her to rise. Immediately the girl came back to life and got up and walked.
In these two hopeless situations, we see two people run to Jesus. Jairus, the well-respected ruler, came to Jesus publicly and to his face. The woman, embarrassed and shunned because of her condition, came to Jesus secretly and from behind. Yet both came to Jesus because He brings hope to the hopeless.
When the severe moments hit us in life, those are the times to run to Christ, not from Christ. There are some professing Christians who happily relate to Christ in the good times, but when the bad times come they grow angry and distant from the Lord. They seethe rather than seek the Lord. But as this ruler and this woman show us, we should seek Christ in desperate and hopeless times.
Remember that Jesus hears and personally responds to His people. We need not doubt His love for us, nor His interest in us. He may heal or provide some relief as He did in these stories. He may provide sustaining grace as the situation goes on. He may bring us home to Him in glory. There is always hope in Christ.
What Jesus calls for from us is a hope-filled faith. Even in desperate, hopeless situations, Jesus says, “Do not fear, only believe.” This is the essence of true faith — hoping in Christ when all hope is lost. Like Abraham, we should believe in the Lord with a confident hope in Him even when earthly hope is gone. For Christ rewards such faith either in this life or the next.
Hebrews 11:1-2: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.”