Believing and Trusting in His Timing; A Gospel of Happy Endings
Our journey begins in Mark 5:22. A ruler of one of the synagogues runs to Jesus as soon as he steps off the ship.
“My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”
Immediately Jesus went with him, along with several others from a large multitude that had overheard the conversation.
Imagine for a moment what this father is thinking. We have to hurry! Why are all these people gathered around? Make way, my daughter is dying! Please Lord walk faster, you have to heal her. You must save her, please.
I know as a father that I would also have similar thoughts.
As their journey continues, good progress is being made, however, a woman with a certain issue of blood for twelve years reaches out and touches Christ’s robe.
This woman had spent everything she had, and had quite literally done everything she could to be healed, but to no avail, whatever she was prescribed didn’t heal her.
“If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.”
I just have to touch his robes, even just a thread, and if so, I will be healed. I just know it. I believe in Him and I believe that He can heal me.
Seconds after she touches His robe, the remarkable, yet unexpected happens. She was immediately healed of the plague in her body, however, Christ stops walking and asks, “Who touched my clothes?”
Let us not forget the ruler of the synagogue who’s daughter is on her death bed, and whose faith is too hanging on by a dear thread.
We don’t know where the ruler was when Christ turned around to see who had touched His clothes. Perhaps the ruler was out in front trying to lead the way, or maybe right next to the Savior. We don’t know, however, we do know that Christ stopped and looked around to see the woman that touched Him.
From Mark’s description of the account in Mark 5:33, the now healed woman appears to have stood up and began walking away, hoping to go unnoticed by the Savior.
Sensing the Savior looking back towards her, she turns around, sees Him, and trembles. I imagine tears began to gather at the corner of her eyelids.
Not knowing what else to do, she returns to the Savior, as she “came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.”
“I’m sorry Lord, please forgive me. I believed that if I just touched a peace of thy robe, I would be healed.”
Christ, in His perfect love, looked at her, and said, “Daughter thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”
Not only had she been healed, but she was also forgiven. She was personally blessed by the Son of God because she believed that He could personally heal her. She had heard the stories, and now her own story had a happier ending.
What an emotional experience this must have been!
But wait, there is more. The ruler of the synagogue is now growing more impatient as every second seems like minutes. His daughter is dying.
As the Savior finishes His conversation with this precious woman, the ruler is informed that his daughter had just died, so “Why troublest thou the Master any further?”
The most gust wrenching news that one could ever hear now had this hopeless father on his knees. His heart had been torn to pieces, and feelings of inadequacy, guilt and remorse began to flood his mind. Had I seen the Savior sooner, maybe I could have been back in time? Maybe He could have saved her?
The ruler believed that Christ could heal his daughter, but He didn’t know that she could be raised from the dead. He had very little understanding of what the Savior could do. Perhaps like the woman, he heard stories of other being healed, but did he personally believe that the Savior could change his own personal circumstance? We don’t know every detail, but part of me likes to think that as ruler watched Christ heal the woman, his faith grew along with hers.
I take some creative scriptural liberty here, but one could imagine that like many other passages in the scriptures, the Lord had compassion (3 Nephi 17:6) on this grieving father, just like He did with others He had healed.
With a broken heart and a contrite spirit, this father’s faith and spirit was ready to be strengthened.
Grabbing the ruler’s shoulder and looking him in his tear filled eyes, the Savior says, “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).
Let this sink in for a minute.
“Be not afraid, only believe.”
When answers to prayers are delayed, and the windows of heaven aren’t opening right away, think of this trembling, grieving father.
Every ounce of faith had been expended up to this point. He lost his daughter, or so he thought, and feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and every possible feeling one could experience flooded this man’s mind. His life, as he knew it, was over.
What was his answer? “Be not afraid, only believe.”
If this was the ruler’s answer, what would he tell us?
Trust in His Timing
Trusting in the Lord’s timing is more than just believing that God will answer our prayers. It means that we still believe even though He doesn’t answer them right away! It means we don’t give up and we “don’t stop believing” as Journey once said because our faith is always pointed towards the future. It means that when we fall to our knees and plead for help, we muster up the courage to say, “Not mine will, but thine be done.”
Wherever you may be on the path of discipleship, I plead with you to keep going. Just because you haven’t heard from Him in a while doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy or that He isn’t listening. He has other children to bless and others to heal along the way, but don’t worry, there is enough comfort, love, and healing to go around.
What if the Savior ignored the woman that touched His robe? Would she still be healed? Yes, but would she have been made whole? I don’t think so.
As Elder Matthew L. Carpenter of the Seventy explained in his October 2018 General Conference talk titled “Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?”, "Through His ministry, Christ taught that He had power over the physical body. We cannot control the timing of when Christ’s healing of our physical ailments will occur. Healing occurs according to His will and wisdom. In the scriptures, some suffered for decades; others, their entire mortal lives. Mortal infirmities can refine us and deepen our reliance upon God. But when we allow Christ to be involved, He will always strengthen us spiritually so we can have greater capacity to endure our burdens.”
Had the Savior kept walking, this woman’s experience wouldn’t have been as life altering. It is because the Savior took the time to visit with and forgive this precious daughter that she was made whole.
Believe in Him
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to all of His children, anytime and anywhere. Because of the Atonement, His love, grace and mercy is available at anytime and anywhere, regardless of our circumstances.
When we believe in the Savior, we believe that His timing and perfect love will change us and eventually bring us to a state that happier then the one we find ourselves in (Ether 12:32).
As Moroni taught in Ether 12:6, “And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”
Notice at the end of the verse that Moroni says, “after the trial of your faith.” He doesn’t say that you will have more faith and hope before your trial, but rather, after. This sounds silly to say, but being raised in the Army, we were always taught that words have meaning.
This is the life of hard knocks, rocky roads and shaky bridges. Yes, our faith will be tested, but during those times of struggle, our love for the Savior and our capacity to endure hardships will increase.
“Be not afraid, only believe,” replies the Prince of Peace.
When our doubts and fears overtake us, trust that in His own due time, He will heal your wounds and answer your prayers.
Like you, my faith has been shaken, but I know that God hears us and that He will bless us with the capacity to endure as long as we continue to believe in Him.
So, don’t give up. Don't give in. This is the gospel of happy endings.