Overcoming Fear

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’
— Mark 5:36 ESV

This was a bold step for Jairus. Be is described as a "ruler of the synagogue." This means he was a part of that Jewish religious establishment that opposed Jesus. He was therefore going against his peers. He could possibly have been stripped of his title and position. But Jairus was also a desperate man, for his little daughter was terminally ill. Jesus was his last hope for saving her life. Desperation will cause normally compliant men to step outside their comfort zone and act in uncharacteristic ways. 

I love the response of Jesus! Immediately He went with Jairus. I cannot find where Jesus ever denied anyone who came to Him with a need.

As they were going to Jairus' house a crowd engulfed them. One lady, who was suffering from a long and debilitating illness, touched the tassel of His robe. She was healed! Jesus stopped to minister to her. 

But rather than rejoicing in this miracle Jairus was about to come unglued! These interruptions were slowing them down. His little girl was hanging onto life by a thin tread. He was becoming more anxious by the second. "Couldn't they move faster? Why was this happening now?" Then he saw his servant approaching them through the crowd. He knew instinctively this was not good. Indeed, it was the worst possible news: his little girl had died. Jairus was crushed! But Jesus said to him, "Do not fear, only believe." But to Jairus this seemed an impossible request. His daughter was dead! 

Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat. It can be good. Fear can keep us from doing something dangerous--or stupid--like speeding on a winding mountain road. But sometimes fear can be bad, such as when it keeps us from trusting God. Satan comes to us and says, "What if you trust in God and He does not come through? What then?" Fear grips our heart and paralyzes us. 

But fear can be overcome. 

How? 

Many years ago I was big into waterskiing. I belonged to a club called "The Aqua Nuts." Once I decided to try my hand at ski jumping. Before my first jump I received some last minute instruction. "When you hit the ramp bend your knees, pull the rope handle to your waist, and focus on the tops of the trees. Don't look down! The tips of your skis will go wherever your eyes focus." 

As soon as I hit the base of the ramp I assumed the position. My knees were bent. I pulled the handle to my waist. I focused my eyes on the tops of the cypress trees. But as soon as my skis cleared the ramp my eyes immediately shifted their focus. I took my eyes off the trees and looked at the tips of my skis. Guess what? They were right--your ski tips go where your eyes focus--and mine went down. Bad things happen when you hit the water with your ski tips pointing down! My skis dug into the water like a shovel. I did the worst face-plant of my life! I remember actually seeing stars! The guy in the boat said, "It's like riding horse--you have to get right back on." I said, "Not me." Some time later I did try it again. I stuck the landing, climbed into the boat... and never did it again! 

Faith follows focus--but so does fear. When we listen to Satan and focus on our circumstances fear is the result. Remember: Satan is a liar and your circumstances are never what they appear to be. So what do you do? Shift your focus. Look up to the faithfulness of God. Look back and remember the times when God has come through for you. He has never abandoned you. He has provided for you. Then look forward to the promises of God. He has a great future for you. Look up to God, not down at your circumstances. When Peter looked at his feet he began to sink. So determine to keep your eyes on Jesus! Focus on Him with all your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Faith and doubt are two sides of the same coin--what makes the difference is the side of the coin you focus on. Focusing down at your fears will send you crashing, but focusing on Jesus will keep you flying. So look up dear friend!