Stay Strong
Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

This story takes us through a wide range of emotions we experience in our own faith journeys, challenging us to consider our own reactions. How do you react in the face of desperation, delays, bad news, and miraculous outcomes?

Have you ever faced a challenge that felt insurmountable? Can you recall a moment when your faith was severely tested? 

Have there been moments in your life when you felt frustrated? Despair, delays and deadends can devastate your faith journey.  Tell me, did your faith stay strong? 

If you’re finding it tough to keep your faith strong and active when things aren’t going as expected, here’s a story that can speak to your situation. Perhaps, it might be the boost your faith needs right now.

Luke 8:40-42; 49-56 recounts the tale of Jairus and his dying daughter. This desperate father shows an unshakeable faith that leads to miraculous outcomes. It’s a compelling tale that has a lot to teach us modern-day Christians, particularly about holding onto faith during challenging times.

A Desperate Father

The story is set in a quaint lakeside town. As Jesus returns from his ministry, Jairus reaches out to him. Why? Jairus’ plight as a desperate father is both heartbreaking and relatable.

Jairus’ only daughter, a child of around 12 years, was almost dying. He wanted Jesus to come to his house and heal his little girl. Jesus was his last hope. 

Can our vulnerabilities be the catalyst for faith? To be fair, faith isn’t a show of invulnerability. Rather, it requires us to open up about our weaknesses and needs to find sufficiency in God. 

Jairus’ encounter with Jesus exposes his vulnerabilities. But, this becomes an adventure of faith.

Holding On To Hope

Jairus is in a state of utter desperation. Thankfully, Jesus agrees to go with him, and they start heading to Jairus’ home. As they continue their journey to Jairus’ house, someone brings the devastating news—the death of Jairus’ daughter. 

When Jairus receives the news that his daughter has died, all seems lost. The situation appears impossible. At this point, Jairus may have been overwhelmed by the sense of dread, sorrow, or even momentary hopelessness. 

Despite hearing the worst news a parent could hear, Jairus continues with Jesus to his home. While we don’t hear his spoken reaction to Jesus’ assurances, his actions speak volumes. He continues to have faith in Jesus, even when things seem beyond repair.

But instead of giving in to despair, Jairus continues to hope. This highlights how hope often exists side by side with despair, as a kind of resistance against overwhelming odds. 

Jesus turns to Jairus and says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”  It is at this moment we see the essence of faith, believing even when it seems like there’s no reason to. 

Just like Jairus, many of us go through life situations where the outcome seems bleak, and we’re prompted to lose faith. It is in those bleakest moments that our faith truly gets put to the test.

The Miraculous

Jesus arrives at Jairus’s home only to find people mourning and in disbelief. When Jesus insists that the girl is not dead but sleeping, there’s a mixed feeling of doubt and hope. 

The mourners laugh at Jesus’ statement that the girl is not dead but asleep. The crowd’s laughter reveals a collective scepticism that can often surround expressions of faith and hope. However, the mockery did not dampen Jairus’ faith. His focus stays on Jesus’ assurance. 

Is Jesus in denial, or should we dare to hope? Strangely, he only allows Peter, James, John, and the child’s parents to enter the room where the girl is lying. Jesus takes her by the hand and simply says, “My child, get up!” She immediately stands up.

Jesus raises the girl from the dead. He does the irreversible and makes the impossible possible. It’s worth noting that such scepticism doesn’t deter the acts of miraculous healing. This speaks to how faith often has to withstand societal doubts and even mockery.

The story also invites us to trust in divine timing. Even when things don’t go as we plan, a greater plan might be at work. It teaches us that miracles are possible even when they seem unlikely. The narrative encourages us to deepen our faith, especially when faced with life’s trials.

What We Can Learn?

Through the lens of this biblical story, we get a vivid glimpse into the human condition’s intricate relationship with faith, hope, and despair.

1. Faith Amidst Challenges

Jairus shows us the power of faith even when circumstances seem bleak. His unshaken trust in Jesus resulted in the miraculous healing of his daughter.

2. Jesus’ Ability to Bring Life in Death

In the raising of Jairus’s daughter, we see a foreshadowing of Jesus’s resurrection. The story serves as a powerful reminder that Jesus can bring life where there is death, and hope where there is despair.

3. The Importance of Believing

Jesus’s statement, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed,” is a call to all of us. In our own lives, when we face trials, it’s our faith that can pave the way for miracles.

4. Divine Timing

The lesson of divine timing can offer a new perspective. Trusting in divine timing means having faith that God will definitely intervene in your failing career, strained relationships, health challenges, life transitions, and personal milestones in his own way and in his own time. 


Like the many other stories before it in Luke’s Gospel, the story is infused with elements of faith, doubt, hope, and divine intervention. 

This story takes us through a wide range of emotions we experience in our own faith journeys, challenging us to consider our own reactions. How do you react in the face of desperation, delays, bad news, and miraculous outcomes?

The story captures Jairus’ unwavering faith in action. It is a powerful narrative with tremendous implications for modern-day Christians. It serves as a reminder of the miraculous possibilities that faith can bring into one’s life.  

It shows that even when the odds are against us, faith can open the door to miraculous outcomes. It encourages us to ‘keep the faith’ even when everything around us suggests otherwise. 

So, the next time you find yourself anxious about why something hasn’t happened yet, you can remember Jairus and how his story reminds us of the power of trusting in God —even when circumstances make it seem like all is lost.

Discussion Questions. 

1) Which character resonated the most with you and why?

2) How did the story affect you emotionally? Were there specific points where you felt a strong emotional reaction?

3) How does the story address the concept of faith in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances?

4) What does the story reveal about the human condition when it comes to faith, hope, and despair?

5) How can you apply the lesson of “trusting in divine timing” to your current life situations?

6) In what ways can you deepen your faith, especially when faced with challenges?

7) Discuss the role of community in your faith journey. Are there ways your community has been a vessel for blessings and miracles in your life? Why not? 

Samuel Thambusamy is a PhD candidate with the Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life.