‘Why do you make a commotion?’ (Mark 5:39)

When Jesus came to the house where the young girl died, he denied her death and the people laughed at him. Sometimes it can be that way for us, too. Even in the face of the help that we need — when the offer is placed squarely before us — we laugh and turn away in scorn instead of welcoming the relief that is available.

Jesus asks the people, “Why do you make a commotion?” (Mark 5:39). That question could just as easily be posed to any of us. Instead of being still to receive, and listening to learn, we make a commotion. We fill the situation with our own static and turmoil because we can’t imagine how any solution beyond our abilities is possible. How could anything happen that we haven’t controlled, and understood?

Sometimes the commotion is just a cover-up for our anxiety. Anxiety can mean wringing our hands over things that can’t be changed, or worrying about things that haven’t happened and may never happen. Anxiety can mean getting lost in the negative possibilities and worst-case scenarios. Anxiety can waste a lot of energy and time. It’s not good for our spirit or our body. And it can be a great distraction from the work of ministry. The most destructive thing about anxiety is that it focuses our attention on us instead of our Lord. Our anxiety is all about ourselves, our self-concern, and need for control. It’s all about what we think we need to feel better. It’s all about putting things back into our own hands so we can have our own way. But that’s not what we need. The real antidote for anxiety isn’t getting our way. It’s not about us seizing control of a dynamic situation that we can’t predict or manipulate. The real antidote for anxiety is trust.

We need to trust in our Lord’s presence with us. We can trust that our situation is in God’s hands, so we don’t need to grasp desperately with our hands. We can trust in God’s love and power, so we can relax and let go of anxiety. We can be still and listen for God’s invitation to us.

Jesus is beyond our understanding, and beyond our control. But he is not beyond us. His offer of help is available, and he can do wonderful things. He can bring life out of death. Not just for the little girl many years ago, but for us. In the midst of our disappointments, losses, and fears, Jesus can find the life and bring it into the open. But we need to receive his gift. We must not block it with our own static, or commotion. As we open our hearts to our Lord, we can share the new life he offers.

Look it Up

See Edwin Hatch’s hymn text, “Breathe on me, breath of God” (Hymn 508).

Think About It

Have you ever created a commotion? How did you get beyond the commotion? What help did you receive? How have you found God present in times of crisis?