Even with all of my many methods of over-complicating things, I do enjoy when life is simple. And not just those times I am able to purposely remove myself from the everyday responsibilities, such as a vacation or a short get-away. Learning to relax and keep life simple on a day by day basis has been a mission for me over the last eighteen months or so. I’ve made great progress.
Recent events, which on the surface were filled with uncertainty and pressure, have led my husband and I to a blessing in disguise – an amazing level of simplicity in our lives. Adjustments are still being made, but I do so with ever-increasing delight! Without the pressure I would not have made this move, yet I am amazed that the literal removal of “things” that surrounded me has set me free to thoroughly enjoy having less. Oh, it wasn’t such a lofty purpose as selling all that I have to give to the poor (although I begged anyone who stopped by to please take whatever they wanted!), but I’ve definitely downsized. Precious things are safely stored away, one day to surround me again. But in this season of my life I want to learn how to make simplicity a part of me that doesn’t change when my world expands again.
Jesus led a simple life. On purpose. He had many an opportunity to get caught up in the complications surrounding Him. He had throngs of people pressing in on Him when He traveled from one city to another. They each had their own agenda – some wanted to discredit Him, others came to worship Him, many needed to touch Him and be healed. Sometimes He answered the questions meant to challenge Him, other times He ignored them. He always had time for those seeking Him with hearts full of faith. He never treated them with impatience, never scoffed at their needs, never rolled His eyes in frustration at all the demands on Him. He drew away to spend time with God while others were clamoring for His attention and His miracles. Even knowing the suffering ahead of Him, He didn’t worry or fret. He kept His peace. He kept things simple. He only did what His Father told Him to do, and He only said what His Father told Him to say.
He calls us to simplicity in ways that seem impossible to us. Let me paraphrase an example out of Mark 5:
Jesus had just stepped out of a boat and a great throng gathered around Him. A ruler in the synagogue (a Jewish house of worship) named Jairus fell at his feet and begged Him to come to his house and lay hands on his daughter, who was dying. So Jesus heads off to Jairus’ house. The crowd doesn’t stay behind, they continue to press in around Him as they walk. In this crowd is a woman who had spent all her money on doctors, enduring much suffering, and yet was not healed from her “issue of blood”. She had heard about Jesus and she made her way through the crowd, came up behind Him and touched His garment. Jesus stops, asks who touched Him, keeps looking for her….she’s healed….He commends her for her faith… A beautiful story….but not the one for today…
He was headed to Jairus’ house because his daughter was dying and He STOPS?!? It is not recorded that Jairus said anything. He waited. While all this is going on, someone from Jairus’ house comes and announces that his daughter is dead, and tells him not to bother Jesus anymore. Verse 36 says “Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; simply believe.”
He proceeds to Jairus’ house, allowing only three of the disciples to go with them, and once there, puts everyone else out of the house. These were the friends and family members who had already begun to mourn her death. They laughed at Jesus when He said she was only asleep. He put out all those who wouldn’t believe. He took only His disciples, Jairus and his wife into the room with the girl, gripped her hand, and raised her from the dead.
Throughout all this, there are no words of Jairus recorded. Now I don’t know if he literally did not utter a single word, but I am quite sure he never spoke a single word of doubt!! He believed. Just like Jesus said. No matter what other circumstances existed, no matter what anyone else said or thought. His faith was made even more remarkable by the fact that he was a ruler in the Jewish church! Most Jewish leaders opposed Jesus! Believing Jesus went against all that he had been taught, all that his natural mind could conceive, all that his emotions were screaming to display. He chose to believe Jesus. There is a simplicity to this choice that escapes us all too often.
What has Jesus said to you: Don’t worry? Don’t be afraid? Cease striving? I’ll take care of you?
He wouldn’t tell you not to worry if it wasn’t possible, not to be afraid if you couldn’t do it, to stop striving so hard if there weren’t an easier way. Draw away and spend time with Him. Choose to put out all the unbelieving voices. And simply believe.