And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with great amazement. Mark 5:42
This verse really got my attention. Jesus did something here that completely astonished people.
I mean, if you look at the language, it is as powerful as it can be. The word used for amazement is strong. It’s more like being in shock than just a state of marveling. And then, it says people were overwhelmed. And then it qualifies the amazement as being GREAT.
We could say the people were flabbergasted. They were floored, stunned, shook up.
When is the last time I was completely astonished? I think it came close when my son was awarded best nurse in adult health care. I was just amazed at how far he had come since his early years in school. But when I look back, there are many things I SHOULD be completely astonished about: my husband’s spiritual growth, the same for my oldest daughter, that we are living here in Auburn being effective for God, that Markeya got her dream job, that we’ve seen so many baptized, the growth of our ministry.
These are things that totally surpassed my expectations.
When is the last time I EXPECTED to be astonished? Not often enough.
I came across one of my old blogs today. It mentioned this story:
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” Mark 9:17-19
How many people do I see as this possessed boy — impossible to heal, impossible to be saved? How much do I limit God’s power, instead of expecting to be completely amazed by His power?
Prior to this, in Mark 5, a woman was healed who had been bleeding for 12 years. It would have been so easy for this woman to be swamped in discouragement, lost to hope. But it was her hope, her FAITH, that healed her, as she reached with expectation that in spite of doctor after doctor, failure after failure, just a touch of this Jesus’ cloak would make her better. The power went out from Jesus. He didn’t even command it. It just went out, drawn by her faith.
This woman had the ability to believe in HOPE. The kind of hope the Bible Abraham was commended for: “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations.” (Romans 4:18)
I think of the contrast between walking by sight and walking by faith.
I walk by sight so much. I see someone and the mess they’ve made with their life and I think, “They’re not going to make it to become a Christian.” Something goes wrong and I immediately assume the worst about the future.
Ken read this verse last night at Bible talk —
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope . . . Romans 5:3-4
I realized that hope is being able to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
And then I realized we should take it one step further. Hope is the excited expectation of what this light can be. Because this is the God who COMPLETELY ASTONISHES, who gives a NEW LIFE to a woman bleeding for 12 years, a child who has died, a man imprisoned by demons. This is the God who “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” Eph 3:20
So I need to expect to be completely astonished more.
Do you know what usually astonishes me? Bad news. I was with a friend at a medical appointment a couple of weeks ago, and we we stunned to learn she had cancer. A family member called me last night in tears about a sad situation, and it felt like it was out of the blue.
When that happens, I need to take strength in the light at the end of the tunnel.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Ps 112:7
It is the light of miraculous regeneration, of daffodils suddenly blooming when it seems that winter is our perpetual reality.
The power to hope is the same power that brings life from death. I think we see in this verse in Ephesians 1 that hope, life and power are all tied together:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. Eph 1:18-19
And when we see this, how hard is it to believe that we can be completely astonished by God? When we reflect on our lives, and all He has done, why not have giddy joyful expectation of being flabbergasted by GOOD NEWS?
And when we do that, I think things finally click some. Our Christian lives become more of what they are designed to be.