Summary: Living with Hope in a Broken World

"Hope for Troubled Times?" Mark 5:21-24,35-43

In Sir Edwin Arnold’s Light of Asia, he tells a parable from the Buddha about a mother who had lost her child. Carrying its dead body in her bosom, she come to the buddha and said:"Lord and Master, do you know any medicine that while be good for my child?" "Yes," he said, "bring me a mustard seed from one house where no some or husband or parent or slave has died." From house to house she went, but never a single one could she find where death had not entered at some time or another. She returned disconsolate to the Buddha, and this was his answer:"He whom thou lowest slept, Dead on thy bosom yesterday; today Thou know’st the whole wide world weeps with your woe; The grief which all hearts share grows less for one.

Isn’t that true?? Everyone has encountered trouble in one form or another. Trouble is everywhere, grief, sorrow, pain, heartache, sickness, loneliness, we could go on and on. as one human being aches, all human beings experience something of that ache. When one hurts, all hurt. Especially, do we see that when death strikes. It seems the whole community is affected by the death of one of its members. There is a hush, a heaviness in the air as the sting of death is experienced. People speak in hushed tones, food is brought to the house where death has been felt. People hug, cry, tory to console one another with words, or just the act of being there. We live in a troubled world, a world which has felt the brokenness of sin, the separation from the loving hand of God.

An interesting story is told of a man in China. He raised prized stallions, and when one ran away his friends came to his home to mourn his loss. After listening to their expressions of concern, the man asked, "How do I know whether what happened is bad or good?" Several days later the runaway horse returned bringing several strays with him. When the news spread the same group of people came to his house again - to celebrate his good fortune. "But how do I know whether it’s good or bad?" the old man asked. The next day the horse kicked the owner’s son and broke the young man’s leg. Once again the group assembled - this time to express sorrow over the unfortunate incident. The father asked, "But how do I know if this is bad or good?" The following week war broke out; the man’s son was exempted from military service because of his broken leg. The friends gathered again.......and the story goes on and on.

Indeed, we live in a world filled with troubles. We tend to blame others for them, or question the happenings of this life with our whys or how comes. We look for answers with our intelligent minds, but we never find them. We look to God trying to figure Him out, but He remains a mystery. We finally come to the conclusion that we must ask the question why for our own sake, we must question the mysteries of God for our own sake, but ultimately, the answers always remain beyond this side of the grave.

A poem by Pastor Clinton Meininger from his book "Springs of Living Waters"tells us of the mysteries of life. He says:

"All around me, Lord of life,

My world is tumbling in.

There’s nothing sure and nothing safe

From gossip, greed and sin:

And yet, I know Thy pardon, Lord,

and thy forgiving power;

And through the storms of life each day

Thy truth sustains each hour.

Oh, help me climb above the storms’

That beat men down each day,

And glimpse a bit of haven on earth

Along life’s burdened way.

Help me to know Thy nearness, Lord.

I cannot walk alone!

So let me feel Thy guiding hand

Through every path unknown.

I do not want to know the goal

Of what tomorrow bring;

One step, one hour, one gleam of light

To make my spirit sing.

And I shall walk through mist or rain

Through storm or summer’s day,

If I but know You’re by my side

Along life’s changing way."

If troubles are a natural part of life, if the questions to life lie with us, but the answers remain with God, what then do we say or do with our questions, our troubles, our suffering? We become fatalist, living each day wondering if it be our last? Do we accept our loss in life without a whimper? Do we become so harden against the troubles of life, that we fail to enjoy the beauty, the wonder, the majesty of life around us, and we ignore the wonder and uniqueness of our own individual, God-given life?? Do we become cynics, questioning everything in life, and believing only a few of the answers?

Do we become like an old tale says, "a hard boiled egg or a potato." Let me explain. The tales says "troubles are like being plunged into boiling water. If you are an egg, your troubles will make you hard boiled and unresponsive. If you are like a potato, you will emerge soft and pliable, resilient and adaptable."How will you face the troubles in your life?

We can turn to scripture and see how one person, Jarius, faced the troubles in his life as seen in our gospel lesson. Briefly, remember Jarius daughter lay dying, he had called the doctors, the priests and nothing could be done. He then decided to seek Jesus. But while he was talking to Jesus, people from his home came to tell him his daughter had indeed died. But Jesus tells him to take heart. So they go on to Jarius house and Jesus restores the little girl to life. I think the story of Jarius, shows us a man who was more like a potato, as he faced the sickness and death of his child.

Jarius was faced with the trouble of sickness. He had tried everything, doctor had come and gone. The priests had come, but their prayers were unanswered. Jarius was in a desperate situation. Then he thought about Jesus. No doubt he had heard of the many miracle Jesus had performed like healing Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, or the man who had been lowered through the ceiling and was healed on his bed. No doubt he had even head about the miracle of Jesus calming the sea the night before. So, Jarius thought, maybe this preacher can help me. Maybe I can swallow my pride, and try this one more thing. His hopelessness probably was turning to confidence, to faith, to trust in Jesus as he made his way to find Jesus. Jarius was pliable enough, resilient enough and adaptable enough to seek out his wandering preachers, this son of a carpenter, this religious fanatic, this Jesus of Nazareth, this one who calmed to be from God, even God’s Son. Jarius had faith enough to turn to Jesus as he encountered trouble. He had faith enough to place to place the well-being of his girl into Jesus’ hands.

Christ became Jarius’ hope. And Christ did deliver. Even when the messengers came to say that the girl had died, Jesus said, "Do not fear,only believe." Jesus gave

Jarius hope. Even when the mourners laughed at Jesus, Jesus still gave hope to Jarius. He asked everyone to step outside, then Jesus took the hand of the girl and said, "Little girl, I say to you arise." and immediately, the girl rose form her bed. The hope, the trust that had been placed in Jesus was well founded. He did deliver the girl. He did deliver this family form this moment of trouble.

So with us as we face the troubles of life. It is to Christ we must turn. It is to Christ, the one who can deliver, the one who can ease our burden, the one who can shoulder our sorrow, the one who can walk with us through the valley, it is to this Christ was must turn. Like Jarius, we must be pliable enough, resilient enough and adaptable enough to trust Jesus with our troubles. In that trust and faith, Jesus will be present. He might deliver us, through the power of His Holy Spirit was might be delivered. There ware countless stories of people who have had miraculous cures from disease, people who have gotten better with no physical reason. People have had tumors shrink, pain go away, tissues which were unhealthy become healthy. Christ does deliver. He can if it be His will. But at the same time, we need to ask for the courage and strength from His presence to face the troubles in our lives. There may not be deliverance. There may be the strength, the courage, the power to live, to walk the road of life with the certain trouble walking along with us.

Now many of us think about physical trouble as sickness,or sorrow as events we might be delivered from. But there are many more kinds of trouble in life. Troubles in relationships, troubles with not accomplishing what we dreamed for ourselves, troubles with being rejected by others, troubles in a marriage, trouble with alcohol and drugs, trouble with a child, the list could go on and on. And in many cases, these kinds of troubles have no instant cure, but they go on and on. Some are cured so-to-speak- with time, others are lived with. Some leave a mark on a life that will never be erased. But Christ can and does give us the strength to go on living, in the full promise of this love and mercy. These day-in-and-day-battles, we all experience with troubles of whatever cause, can and should be consecrated to God, exalted to Him in prayer, handed over to Him for His care.

"An invalid was told that she could never escape from his prison of pain and weakness. ’Oh, well,’ she replied, ’there is a lot of living to be found within your limitations if you don’t wear yourself out fighting them.’"

I would like to maintain that the strength to live within the limits of your troubles comes from Christ. Yes, there is a lot of living you and I can and should do as we face the troubled times of life and that living comes from Christ’s power in our lives.

That strength can allow,m even encourage us to be creative within the limits our troubles bring to us. Some people handle troubles by dealing with them and then seeing what they can still accomplish. Others allow the troubles to consume their entire lives, and never seeing the creative hand of God working in their lives.

When I was in college I worked during the summer at Camp Sunnyside an Easter Seal Camp for handicapped children and adults. As I worked there, I learned quickly about the campers as they spent two weeks with us and I saw many different attitudes toward the disability they had. Some were willing to risk, to push themselves, to try new things. Others were content, they were afraid to risk, to try. It seemed to me the ones willing to try, to risk even if they failed, enjoyed camp more, were more pleasant to be around and even uplifted my spirits. The ones who didn’t risk or see the possibilities that were in their lives were negative and did not seem to enjoy life.

The ones who creatively dealt with their troubles in a realistic way were a joy and they even surprised themselves as to how creative they could be. One place in particular we found campers willing to risk was in the pool. I remember one boy who was afraid of the water at first. He wore a life-jacket, the first time in the water. But as he was willing to try, he learned to float without the jacket, to put his head under the water, and before he left, he was able to swim the length of the pool without his life-jacket. This boy had only the use of his arms, but he found the water to be an enjoyable experience when he was willing to creatively risk, to try within his limits.

I think all of us can grow, risk, and dare within the limits we find ourselves. Whatever the troubles, there can be that creative spark within each of us to deal with it. We don’t know the future,we don’t know what the creative hand of God has planned for us as we face our troubles, so we must be willing to go along with the quiet voice of God inside of us telling us how best to deal with this trouble.

In a Wordsworth’s poem he tells about a bird swept from the rough and rocky habitat by a strong wind of a storm, we find an example of going along with our troubles and finding a creative way to deal with them. The bird swept from his home tried desperately to flay back home against the wind and the fury of the storm. He couldn’t, but when he gave in and flew with the wind, when he let the wind guide him, it brought him to a sunny land with green meadows and a beautiful forest. A land far better than the one to which he vainly struggled against the wind to return to.

Sometimes as you and I face the storms and gales of life, sometimes we might just find a fairer land a different vie of life. Sometimes as you and I face troubles, those troubles might lead us to different people, or events which can creatively change our lives, allow us to grow in a way we would least expect it or change our viewpoint so that we can enjoy life and make the fullest use of it. Through Christ, I believe, there is a creative power present as we face the troubles of life, and I believe that somehow each of us can allow Chris to use that creative power in our lives. We must allow and believe that Christ will work in our lives as He pleases. That creative power, my friends, is Christ’s to do with as He pleases. We cannot understand His mind or workings, but like Jarious, we must be willing to trust it, to allow it to work in our lives, We must be like Jarius, like that potato in boiling water pliable, resilient and adaptable, as we turn the troubles of life over to the living, merciful and caring hand of Christ.

A closing poem speaks to that faith in Christ’s hand in our lives. The unknown author says:

"Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow

The same Everlasting Father

Who care for us today

Will take care of you tomorrow and every day.

Either He will shield you form suffering,

or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at Peace then, and put aside all anxious

Thought and imaginations."