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Can Desperation Be a Gift?

June 15, 2023

Can Desperation Be a Gift?

Can Desperation Be a Gift?

By Brooke Holt

“While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.’ And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples.” Matthew 9:18-19

Jesus and his disciples shared many interesting and diverse days. We have just read about hard-hearted religious leaders who expect Jesus to do things their way instead of God’s way (the epitome of self-deception and pride). In the passage for today, one of the top religious leaders comes to Jesus, not to antagonize him, but to beg Jesus to come revive his daughter.

This poor man did not have time to consider expectations. He heard Jesus was a man who could heal. That was all he needed to know. He had no other hope. Whatever doctors and medicines they had used did not save his daughter. She was beyond any medical help at this point. Despite all his earthly power and authority, Jairus (the ruler of the synagogue) was completely desperate. He had nothing more he could do except call on Jesus.

In contrast to the Pharisees, Jairus came to Jesus in humility. He also came with a huge request – that Jesus would come and lay his hand on Jairus’s daughter that she may live. Somehow, this leader of the Jewish synagogue believed in Jesus. He recognized that Jesus was a holy man with power.

What led Jairus to this faith and humility? As you read throughout the Gospels, Jesus was not well-celebrated by the leaders within the Jewish faith. Those leaders were guarded and often coordinated in their attempts to suppress Jesus and his message. An openness to Jesus meant derision from the Jewish leaders and community. Yet, desperation has a drive that surpasses pride and earthly power. What a gift!

And what a gift that Jesus did not question this man but “rose and followed him, with his disciples” (v. 19). Jesus honored both the desperation of the ruler and his request.

While the world seems to resist desperation, Jesus welcomes it. And doesn’t it often take desperation to motivate you to seek Jesus with such humility and faith? Sometimes the hardest circumstances of your life provide the very gifts God uses to bring you to true faith in him. Sometimes these heartbreaking trials or losses are the opportunities to see God’s power manifested in ways you never could have imagined.

Are you facing trials, setbacks, loss, hurt, or fear? Jesus desires for you to bring your desperation to him. Maybe your greatest pain also offers your greatest opportunity to experience the power and love of Jesus.


Are you willing to get desperate before the Lord? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Recommended Resources:

The Spirit-Filled Life

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!


Pilgrim's Path

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