Expectation

Key Texts: Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.”

So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.

Sometimes, when I picture a scene like this from Jesus’s life, I wonder about the tremendous expectation that was placed upon him, almost constantly at one point. I wonder about how he, as fully divine, but also fully human, could understand what it is like to have that kind of pressure upon one man.

I wonder about how, though he must have tired, was also ever faithful in responding to the human need that pressed in upon him from all sides.

I think about how I can become tired in my serving others, then feel guilty, thinking about Jesus’s tireless nature and endless compassion.

Who am I to complain – in comparison?

Still, I know we are all simply human, with many frailties and weaknesses. So, we must “do the best we can” and be satisfied with that.

It is a good exercise though to challenge ourselves to new levels of caring.

It is a valid – and important vocation – to answer a call to do just a little more, understand a little better, reach out with a little more compassion, than before.

In that way, we ever appreciate God’s endless, deep, abiding compassion and love for us and all people.

Expectation can be a great burden – that is, the expectation that those in need place upon us at times.

It is also a privilege, a very great privilege, to serve as Jesus served and make some small attempt to love as he loved – time and time again.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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