Father's Day for Jairus
(This story was written to be performed as a monologue for Father's Day)
'How's your father?' I heard our neighbour Zac ask my daughter Rachel. I'd been feeling ill for a couple of days, but now at last I could eat again.
'He's on the mend. Thank you.' Just to hear Rachel's cheerful reply reminded me of what had happened almost a year ago in this very room. As I lay here in the semi-darkness how thankful I was to hear her voice so cheerful - so full of life! What a blessing my 13 year old Rachel is to me and to Miriam, my wife! It could have been so different...
My name is Jairus. I'm an official at our synagogue, though this year I've stepped down from the busy task of organizing the priests' rosters and ceremonial duties. I needed more time to just 'be with God'. Why? Well, that's a bit hard to explain.
I can still remember my panic and fear when Rachel fell ill just over a year ago - her pale, thin body... the burning fever ...my servants rushing to and fro finding physicians. The only diagnosis as life seemed to drain from her was, 'Get ready. Get ready for death. Make the necessary funeral arrangements. Rachel is going to die.'
What's a father to do? When you raise a child - teach, train, hold and hope for a future, for happiness - and to have all that cut so short by sickness. It was so hard to watch and so out of my control. The doctors did their best, but Rachel, my little Rachel lay here in the darkness, just waiting.
I'd heard of Jesus. I'd never actually heard him speak, but I'd seen him in the distance teaching near Lake Galilee. There was lots of talk - my priestly friends wondered about his healings and teaching. Everyone was trying to work out what to make of him. Then we heard that Jesus was nearby. In the midst of all the confusion and the helpless waiting by Rachel's bedside, I made my decision. I must find this 'teacher' and bring him here to see my Rachel.
I didn't care what people might say. I didn't think of the embarrassment of 'going public'. I love my daughter. That was far more important. I spoke to my wife and servants and then ran to the road coming up from the lake. We didn't have much time. Every moment made the difference.
A large crowd had gathered. They were pressing towards Jesus. I made my way to the edge and then pushed forward. Some of the crowd drew back when they saw it was me. Then I was there...in front of Jesus.
With my heart racing I knelt before him. I found it hard to look up - to look into those eyes. I pleaded. I poured out my request. 'My daughter is dying! Please come and put your hands on her so that she'll be healed and live.'
As I tried to stand, Jesus began to move up the road towards our house but the crowd surged around, almost crushing us. I was thinking 'Come on. Out of the way! Let us through.' But Jesus stopped.
What happened next is hard to describe. I was desperate...confusedafraid. Jesus healed an 'unclean woman' who had reached out and touched his cloak. As I lie here now I remember Jesus said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.' Such reassuring words, 'daughter'...'faith'...'healing'...'life'. That's what Rachel needed. But - oh the delay! Rachel could be dying!
'Jairus, your daughter is dead! Don't bother the teacher any more!'
My servant's cry from the edge of the crowd hit me with a thud. I was filled with despair - but Jesus spoke calmly, 'Don't be afraid; just believe and she will be healed.'
I'd just seen Jesus heal a woman in front of me. It was a miracle - I had no doubt about that. Just believe! Just believe! I wanted to believe. I wanted to bother the teacher. I wanted him to come to Rachel. I wanted my own miracle. I wanted her healed.
Now we moved swiftly and, as we approached our home, I heard the flute funeral song and the wailing mourners. A crowd had gathered in front of my house.
Jesus saw the people crying loudly and he spoke to them directly, 'The child is not dead! She's only asleep.'
The seasoned mourners laughed at him. 'As if he'd know! He hasn't even seen her dead body,' someone quietly sniggered. Jesus called three of his disciples and we went into the house.
There she lay - so still...so pale. Miriam started to sob and I held her tight. Jesus moved to the bedside and took Rachel's limp hand in his. He spoke like a father waking his sleeping child. I'll never forget his words Talitha koum!" - Little child, get up!
At once Rachel sat up. The colour rose to her cheeks. Then she stood!
Joy flooded the room. 'Feed her,' Jesus said to us. How simple and how wonderful - the dead don't eat! Life had returned to my daughter!
As Jesus left, he ordered us not to tell anyone what had happened. I guess he had his reasons. But how could we not tell. Our only daughter had been dead, but now she was alive!
I walked outside, my arm around my wife and daughter - alive, smiling, praising God. I said to the crowd of mourners, 'Who's laughing now?'
As I lie here, I turn my head towards the light filtering through the window. I listen to my daughter Rachel's sweet voice chatting to our neighbour.
'How's your father?' I'm fine - of course I'm fine. Moment by moment, day by day I am overwhelmed with thanks to our Father God.
(c) Don Stott, http://eliab.com , 2004
Make Your Dad Glad -poem/song
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Father's Day for Jairus