I had just watched my mom’s casket lowered into the ground when I noticed a young couple about one hundred yards away. They were standing with their children next to a small headstone. I recognized the couple, so as family and friends dispersed from my mom’s graveside, I walked over and stood with them. It had been five years since their infant daughter died, but the pain was still fresh. Tears flowed as we talked and I shared about my infant brother dying decades ago. It was a brief moment of shared grief, a moment created by the burial of my 99 year-old mom.
Now, months later, I reflect on that moment after reading Mark 5:21-43. This is the passage where Jesus healed the woman, who suffered from bleeding for 12 years, as he made his way to the home of Jairus the synagogue official. After the woman is healed, we learn Jairus’ sick daughter has died, but Jesus then raised the girl from the dead. It caught my attention that the age of the girl is 12, the same number of years the woman suffered from her bleeding.
In researching the significance of the 12 years, I found all sorts of detailed insight on the passage: how the woman would’ve been unclean for 12 years; the significance of touching Jesus’ garment; and the implication of being 12 years old in the Jewish faith. Yet there was something that still didn’t satisfy my curiosity. That’s when I recalled the moment last fall when I stood with the young family at the graveside of their infant daughter and sister.
That moment reminded me that sorrow knows no bounds. There I stood with the fresh grief of losing my 99 year-old mom, sharing the grief of the loss of an infant. There were more than 90 years between the two lives, yet we were able to empathize with each other over the loss of a loved one. In that moment it was a shared grief. There was an unspoken understanding of the pain we all felt felt deep inside.
Jairus and the woman in this passage both suffered pain over illness. The woman suffered 12 years while the sorrow Jairus felt was still fresh. They came from different walks in life, yet they shared a grief that brought them both to the feet of Jesus. There is something about pain and suffering that draws us together — something deep inside that draws us to Jesus.
Whether you’re suffering for years with a medical condition, feeling helpless as you watch your sick child, or mourning the loss of a loved one, know that you are not alone in your pain. Lay your sorrow at the feet of Jesus, then pray for others who are feeling the same pain.
© 2022, Chris G Thelen
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NASB)
One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.” – Mark 5:22-23
After hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” – Mark 5:27-28
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:26-28