“Do not fear, only believe.” These difficult words were spoken during a time when someone’s life was falling apart around him. In Mark 5, a ruler of the synagogue came to Jesus because he was desperate. His beloved daughter was on the brink of death and he knew only the Resurrection incarnate could make a world of difference. Presented with the distressed situation, Jesus made his way to the sick, young girl. Something terrible happened on the way there though. “Jairus, your daughter has died.” A parent’s worst nightmare had become a reality for the father. Yet, the bad dream would not last long—Jesus was in the business of bringing new life. Turning to the father, he looked with compassion in his eyes and said, “Do not fear, only believe” (Mark 5:36). At the words of Jesus, new life was brought into the young girl and hope was restored in synagogue ruler’s heart.
We may not ever experience what Jairus felt, but we all understand what it means to be afraid. N.T. Wright wrote:
We emerge from the warmth of the womb into the cold of the cosmos, and we’re afraid of being alone, of being unloved, or of being abandoned. We mix with other children, other teenagers, other young adults and we’re afraid of looking foolish or being embarrassed. Or of being left behind in some race that we all seem to have been automatically entered in. When we contemplate jobs, we’re afraid both that we might not get the one we want, but if we do get the one we want, that we won’t be a success at it. And this double fear lasts all throughout our lives. When we think about marriage we’re afraid that we’ll never get married, but if we do get married, we’re afraid that it will be a disaster. When we consider a career move we’re afraid both of giving up the security of what we have, but also of missing a golden opportunity. And when we consider growing older, we’re afraid both of dying a slow death, or of dying suddenly.
Into such a world of apprehension, Jesus issues a surprising command. “Do not fear, only believe.” How can you make it during life’s most tumultuous times? The answer of the Bible is trusting Jesus Christ. We rely on him instead of our own understanding and he watches over us as life’s waves crash around us. We may not have everything and may be placed into situations where we feel powerless, but we are not alone. We know the One who has the very power of resurrection at his disposal. We have a God who raises the dead.