Life can be so humbling. Sometimes, out of nowhere, a challenge or a problem can arise that we can't handle on our own. It may be something that we never thought could happen to us, but suddenly, we don't know where to turn or what to do.
That's when we have to find something we can put our faith in so we can move forward.
That was the message I shared recently in a homily. It focused on the Bible story about a synagogue ruler named Jairus who asks Jesus to cure his sick daughter.
In that time, the religious leaders of the day usually had nothing but ridicule and derision for Jesus. They were angry that Jesus was teaching the people lessons that were different from what they espoused, and they constantly were looking for opportunities to attack Him and undermine His ministry.
We don't know whether Jairus was one of these critics, but we do know he had heard about Jesus and the miracles He had performed. So when his daughter fell ill, Jairus made a beeline to Jesus to seek His help. Then things took a terrible turn.
While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus. "Your daughter is dead," they told him. "Why bother (Jesus) the teacher anymore?"
But Jesus didn't listen to them. He told Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just believe."
It was in this moment that Jairus, totally humbled by life, had to make a leap of faith. He could accept the devastating news about his daughter's death and give up, or he could believe in Jesus. He could stop in his tracks and go home alone, or he could continue walking alongside the Healer. He knew Jesus had power over sickness; did he believe Jesus also had power over death?
Jairus put his trust in Jesus and they walked on.
They came to the home of the synagogue ruler. There Jesus saw a lot of confusion. People were crying and sobbing loudly. He went inside. Then He said to them, "Why all this confusion and sobbing? The child is not dead. She is only sleeping." But they laughed at Him.
He made them all go outside. He took only the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with Him. And He went in where the child was. He took her by the hand. Then He said to her, "Talitha koum!" This means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!" The girl was 12 years old. Right away she stood up and walked around. They were totally amazed at this. Jesus gave strict orders not to let anyone know what had happened. And He told them to give her something to eat.
This is a beautiful story about how having faith, asking for help and then accepting it can overcome even the most impossible of sorrows.
It's very similar to the stories of the many youth and families Boys Town serves every day. They too have been humbled by some terrible life experience – abuse, neglect, divorce, addiction, poverty, unemployment, mental illness, school failure – that has brought them to their knees in hopelessness and despair.
Just as Jairus knew he could put his faith in Jesus, these youth and families know they can count on Boys Town.
At Boys Town we don't judge or criticize, nor do we blame or belittle. We simply meet those in need where they are and try to find the best way to help. With our wide variety of life-changing programs and services, we can address even the most severe and seemingly insurmountable problems and help youth and families reclaim their lives. We also can give them the skills and tools to resolve problems on their own in the future.
It takes a lot of courage for these youth and families to ask for and accept the help Boys Town has to offer. This same courage is what carries them through the tough times and empowers them to head in a new, positive direction. We appreciate the faith youth and families have in us as we guide them on their healing journey.
For over 100 years, we've been a beacon of hope for America's children and families, a place of refuge when the humbling storms of life strike. Thanks to our dedicated supporters, our work and our mission continue.