“In the Midst of It All”

“In the Midst of It All”  Mark 5:21-43
The 6th Sunday after Pentecost (B) 7/1/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

“It doesn’t work. Praying to Jesus doesn’t work. It doesn’t help” many will say… “certainly not all of the time if any of the time one calls upon Him.”

And they will list off the people whom the Lord did not heal… including themselves possibly… as well as individuals… loved ones… whom they asked be spared from dying and this, to no avail.

So… you have those who will completely dismiss the Gospel text before us as pure fiction… and those who cannot come to terms with it… with the seeming incongruity of our Lord’s actions as to who gets helped and healed and who does not.

The questions is, where do we fall in all of this? What do you think? Because guess what? This all pertains to you, to me… our lives, and that of our loved ones as well as others we know. We are in the midst of it all. We are amongst those who live and those who die, those who are healed in this life and those who are not. This all hits home.

You know, there is an amazing connection here to last week’s Gospel account where it seemed to the disciples that they were about to die in that boat that was being battered by the wind and the waves.

The answer there and then in that situation is the answer here and now in regard to what happens in today’s Gospel account as well as what happens with us each and every day… today and all of our days.

The answer is Christ Jesus and our faith in Him… our trust in Him.

My friends, it is so easy for one’s faith to become conditional… one’s trust in Jesus to be provisional… where that faith… that trust is there as long as what happens meets with our approval… as long as it is what we wanted and prayed for… or is at least, in our minds, something we can accept, live with. Hey, after all, we are willing to compromise!

But the thing is.. God isn’t. Not so much. Not at all! God is God and we are not and the sooner we get over ourselves, humble ourselves before the Lord our God, the better.

When we say and pray to our Father in heaven, “Thy will be done” there are no conditions or terms to the same. His will, WILL be done. His ways, not our ways.

Having faith and trust in the Lord means having faith and trust in Him regardless of what happens and what the outcome. Because here’s a news flash… our knowledge of what is really happening is meager and miniscule at best and what will actually be the turn of events is totally beyond us.

Think about it. How many other women (and men) were in the crowd mentioned in our text who likewise had illnesses and issues? The Lord did not heal them all there and then.

How many fathers besides Jairus were agonizing because they had critically ill children? Children who eventually died and where not raised from the dead there and then.

I mean, come on! Why was not every man, woman and child healed while Christ walked this earth?  And certainly, after His saving work on the cross?

We, who are in the midst of it all daily still see the pain and the suffering. We still attend funerals and plan for our own.

I said that our understanding of what is happening is meager and miniscule. I didn’t say it was insufficient. It is sufficient and this through what the Lord our God reveals to us in His Holy Word as to what has happened, is happening and will happen.

There… on the cross at Calvary… all of our sins were cancelled out, blotted out. There and then we were given the victory over sin, death and the devil. Though while still in these mortal bodies we feel the effects of the same… the sting is gone, the oppression gone.

And soon, in God’s perfect time, all sadness and sickness will be gone. And our mortality will be swallowed up by immortality… with perfect bodies free forever from the effects of sin and its consequences.

Until that happens… until that time comes… what is key for us is having a living and alive faith in Jesus Christ… one that is not conditional, but rather unconditional… and unwavering… that whatever happens to us in the midst of this all… in this world and our time here below… we simply trust the Lord… have faith in the Lord… as did that woman… as did Jairus… as did so many others… dear brothers and sisters who have gone on before us who, quite frankly, dealt with things so horrendous and formidable that it puts us to shame in terms of what we face and how we bear up under it all.

Our unwavering faith, unconditional faith that… in the midst of it all… in whatever we face… the Lord loves us and is with us every step of the way… that He is in control… that He will always do what is best for us… that He will sustain us, uphold  and defend us with His might and power and comfort us as a shepherd comforts His sheep and lambs.

Indeed, our unwavering faith, unconditional faith, that though now we find ourselves  in the midst of this all, we will soon be in the midst of them all. In the midst, that is, of our loving God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit… in the midst of all His saints… in the midst of angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.

Please do not lose this perspective because it is real. It is reality for you, me and all believers. For all who live in the shadow of the cross and cling to the same while we are in the midst of it all.

And this, by the faith instilled in us all at the holy font. The precious gift, divine gift of faith poured over us all there and then. The faith that is strengthened daily by the Lord, by His Holy Spirit working mightily through Word and Sacrament.

What peace, true peace, lasting peace this gives to us while we are in the midst of it all. Thanks be to God and Him alone the glory! Amen.