Bible Reading: Luke 8:22-56
When we learn to trust in Jesus, to believe what He says…it gives us calm and peace…even in the midst of the most difficult of situations. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the situation will go away, get better, or change at all. But, it does mean that we will change in the situation. We will trust that He has it in His control. We will trust that He has us in His control. And that will totally change our perspective, our decisions, and our actions.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
It was 1962, I was 7-years-old, in First Grade, and we lived in Auburndale, FL. Something was going on at the time that as kids we only partially understood…but we knew enough for it to be a little frightening.
Just a few years before, in 1959, a radical revolutionary named Fidel Castro had taken over a country named Cuba and become it’s dictator (that is a person who takes over a country by force and controls it). Many people had died when Castro took over Cuba and its government. The United States had opposed Castro but not done much to stop him. Even though the U.S. had not initially stopped Castro, he was afraid that at any moment we might attack his military and take over Cuba and give it back to the Cuban people.
Now, we found out that Russia, a very powerful country that supported Castro, was secretly shipping nuclear rockets to strengthen his new government. The U.S. and Russia opposed each other politically. We were not actually at war, fighting each other with men and weapons…but we were fighting each other with politics. It was called the “Cold War”. Cuba is only about 90-miles below Key West in Florida. If one of those nuclear rockets was launched from Cuba it would only take it 2 minutes to reach Florida. 2 minutes is not much time. It would probably not be enough time for the U.S. to launch its own rockets to shoot it down. Many people in Florida would die. Our President, John F. Kennedy, sent a message to Russia and Cuba that they were to immediately remove the rockets. If not…well, we didn’t want there to be an “If not”…because whatever it was, it would probably mean “war”.
This is where our First Grade class came in. Each day, while we were at school, we had Air Raid Alert practice. If war started, and Cuba launched a rocket towards Florida…the school would turn on a special bell that would ring in every room. When that happened, the teacher would instruct all of the students to get on their knees under their desks, to bend their head forward down to the floor, and to cover the back of their head with their hands. This was called “duck and cover”. We practiced regularly because our government really believed that an attack could actually take place.
There was also something else that we practiced in case of an attack. If the rockets exploded far enough away from where you were…then you were supposed to have a safe place to stay. Many people had built what was called a “Bomb Shelter”. There were different kinds…but generally, it would be something like an underground basement of a house that had been reinforced with metal and concrete. Inside, you would store food, water, and supplies for several months. My father, Pop, had arranged for us to stay with a family in town that lived near our home.
If a rocket attack happened, the Fire Station had a special siren that would blow. It was the “Air Raid Alert Siren”. When that Siren blew…no matter what you were doing…you would immediately run as fast as you could to the Bomb Shelter where you were going to stay. The Air Raid Alert Siren sounded something like a regular Fire Alarm Siren. The difference was that while the Fire Alarm Siren went up and down, up and down, up and down, in pitch…the Air Raid Alert Siren went up to a high pitch and stayed up. It did not go up and down. Auburndale was just a small town. The Elementary School was close to downtown and the Fire Station was in the middle of downtown. One day, I was walking home from school and was right across the street from the Fire Station. Suddenly, the Siren went off. It went up to a high pitch. I remember standing there looking at the Fire Station. I was thinking, “Cool, the Fire Alarm went off and I get to see the Fire Trucks come out of the Station.” But this time, the Siren stayed at a high pitch. It didn’t go up and down, like the Fire Alarm. This was the Air Raid Alert Siren. Then, it hit me…” We’re under attack. A bomb has landed!” For several seconds I was frozen. I just kept staring at the Fire Station. As I stood there, people started running out of stores, jumped into their cars, and sped off down the streets. They were heading for their Bomb Shelters. This was the real thing. Then, a man that I had never met, and that I never saw again, walked up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder. He could probably tell that I was afraid. He said, “Son, don’t be afraid. That’s not the Air Raid Alert Siren. It’s just the Fire Alarm Siren…it’s stuck.” I thought, “The Fire Alarm Siren is stuck?” Stop and think. The Fire Alarm Siren went up and down, up and down. But what would happen if it just went up…and got stuck…and didn’t come down? It would sound like the Air Raid Alert Siren. And that is just what had happened. I smiled at the man and said, “Thank you.” He nodded and walked off. Now that I knew the truth I wasn’t afraid, anymore. In fact, for a little guy who had just thinking that he had to run for his life, I was pretty calm. So, I just stood there for a while and watched people going crazy…when there was really no need for them to do so, at all. But then…they didn’t know the truth…like I did.
A man named Jairus had a 12-year-old daughter and he loved her very much. She became sick and got worse and worse…until finally, it looked like she was going to die. Jairus was broken hearted. Then, he heard that Jesus was in town. He had heard that Jesus could heal people and he desperately wanted his daughter to live…so He went to Jesus and asked Him to heal his daughter. Jesus agreed, and they headed toward Jairus’ home. Along the way, some people arrived from his home and told him that it was too late. His little girl had died. Jesus told him to not be afraid…but to believe in Him. He would save her. When they got to Jairus’ home all the people that had gathered there were crying because the little girl had died. As Jesus walked through the crowd He told them that she was not dead, but only sleeping. Then, the people who had been crying, began to laugh. They were laughing at Jesus. They were probably thinking, “Who does this guy think He is? The girl is dead and there’s nothing that He can do about it.” Jesus took Jairus and his wife and three of His disciples and went into the room where the girl was. He took her by the hand and told her to stand up. The little girl opened her eyes and stood up. Can you imagine how Jairus and his wife must have felt at that moment? Their little girl was alive!
Let me ask you something. Do you think that little girl was really dead? The people that were there that day did. And, so do I. I know, Jesus said that she was only sleeping. But what did He mean by that? Here it is. To everyone else…she was dead. There was absolutely no hope. But to Jesus…death is not a threat. He is in control of everything…even death. Death is no more threatening…than sleep. That was the point that He was making when He said that she was only sleeping. He was telling the people that if they believed in Him…they did not have to be afraid of anything, not even death. He had told Jairus to not be afraid…but to believe in Him. Jairus knew something that none of the other people knew. He knew the truth…the truth about the situation based on what Jesus had told Him. And He believed the truth. As a result, it completely changed the way that he saw his daughter’s situation. When Jesus said that his daughter was only sleeping…he believed Him.
Sometimes you may find yourself in a difficult situation. You don’t understand it. You can’t explain it. You don’t know what to do about it. What do you do? Go to Jesus…just like Jairus did. Listen to Him and see what He has to say about the situation. His word is the truth. No matter how the situation may appear, and no matter what other people may say about it…listen to Jesus. He knows the truth. Then, you look at the situation from Jesus’ perspective and do what He tells you to do. How do you find out what Jesus has to say? First, read the Bible. Many of the questions that we have are already answered right there. Second, pray. Tell Jesus exactly what is going on. And then, listen for Him to speak to your heart. He will give you an answer. He will tell you what the truth about the situation really is. Then, like the day that the Fire Alarm got stuck when I was growing up and the man told me the truth about the Alarm…Jesus will tell you the truth and you will be calm and know what to do…because you believe in Jesus.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,