It is too late.
The words reverberated in Jairus’ mind, and with each echo, it built up in volume and intensity till the sheer intensity of them made him dizzy and faint.
IT IS TOO LATE! His mind screamed. His daughter was dead and all hope was lost. If only he had come earlier. A wave of sorrow and loss washed over him with guilt following closely behind. He had failed Sarah, his wife and Tabitha. He had promised them that all will be well and all he needed to do was get the Rabbi to their home and there will be happiness again. But he had failed.
Three months of hopes raised high and then dashed as all medicines failed to live up to their hype and proclaimed potency. Days filled with worry and nights filled with dread as his daughter grew worse and turned ghostly white. He had spent many a night afraid to sleep a wink for fear that Tabitha would breath her last while he dozed, like he had to stay awake to chase the ghost of death that was lurking in the corners waiting for a moment of distraction on his part to snatch his little girl. He had lost weight and had turned to a shadow of his former self. Many a times, Sarah, would plead with him to eat the food that she had prepared for him “don’t make me bury two people I love dearly” she would plead. It was like she had already accepted that their daughter could not be saved. He hadn’t and he had come in search of the Teacher, one whom he had been hearing great reports about, believing that He would be able to heal his daughter.
But now, his wife had just sent a report through his servants that Tabitha was gone and he shouldn’t bother the Rabbi. The girl must have died shortly after he left home. Death had finally seized his moment, when he had been out of reach to fight him for his little girl’s life. If only he had stayed, he mourned, maybe he could have at least gotten to say goodbye. Sarah had been right after all, it had been Yahweh’s will to take their only child from them, the apple of his eye. It didn’t seem fair at all.
Suddenly, white hot rage soared through him and he clenched his fist in fury. ‘Why?!’ he thought seething, ‘why did God do that? Why did He take his little girl, when she was just blossoming, so full of life and promise?’ Sometimes it was frustrating following God, he thought calming down and fully assured that there would be no answers to his many questions. Who goes about questioning God anyways? It was a foolhardy venture. God was God and man was just that, Man, mere mortal, dust and ashes.
He sighed and looked at the Rabbi. What he saw made him hold his breath. The Rabbi’s eyes were alive with fire and something else, something he couldn’t place. Could it be excitement? Passion?
“Do not be afraid’ the Rabbi said, a voice that was both reassuring and desperate “only believe” it was like the Rabbi was imploring him.
He is desperate to heal my child. The thought crashed into his mind with a clarity that was total. It made him feel peaceful and excited, humbled and elated. The Master was eager to do him a favour, and he had no idea why.
He realized that he had not replied and the Rabbi was waiting for him to say something. He had to be the one to make the call whether to trouble the Master or not. He could give up now and tell the Master not to bother or he could do the insane thing and trust that the Master could do what He was promising to do. He could see his daughter again! This was an opportunity too good to be passed up on.
He nodded. He was too emotional to trust himself to talk. He turned and led the way to his house, amidst questioning looks from the crowd.
From a hundred metres away, Jairus could hear noises coming from his house. ‘The mourners are here’, he thought, and his heart quickened. There would be a crowd in his house by now who would all be witnesses to him bringing the Rabbi to raise the dead. What would happen if the Rabbi couldn’t? The thought didn’t last long, he believed that God was with the Rabbi and if the Rabbi had said ‘only believe’ then that was what he would do. Believe
When they got to the house, the Rabbi ordered the mourners and sympathizers out telling them that the child was not dead but asleep. The reaction had been slow in coming. The physician who had declared the girl raised his eyebrows and frowned in consternation at such audacity and presumption from someone who was unlearned. The room was silent for a while before one of the mourners sniggered and another burst out laughing. Before long the whole room was shaking with laughter as the crowd mocked the Rabbi. “He is definitely out of His mind” someone commented
Having put away the crowd amidst loud protestations, the Rabbi, took along Peter, James and John with Jairus and Sarah and entered the room where the girl was lain. She was a girl of about twelve years and was lying face up with her hands folded on her lap and a pink satin sheet covered her up to her neck. She looked peaceful, like she was asleep. The only thing missing was the rhythmic rise and fall of her chest, which would signify that she was alive.
The Rabbi moved towards the bed where she was lying and held her hand and said in a low voice, almost a whisper “Talitha cumi” Daughter arise.
There was an audible gasp. It was from Sarah. “Hallelujah” she whispered and began to sob quietly. Tabitha had opened her eyes and was presently smiling up at the Teacher, who was also smiling at her. They seemed to be sharing a private joke and a twinkle was in the Teacher’s eyes. After a moment, He stood up and turned to the parents “find her something to eat”
Jairus rushed to his daughter’s side and held her arms and then hugged her tightly. “You are back” he muttered repeatedly with tears running down his eyes. Sarah joined her husband and hugged her daughter. She was openly crying now. She turned towards the Rabbi and whispered her thanks.
The Rabbi smiled at her and added solemnly “See that you tell no one of this”. She nodded and turned back towards her daughter.
Jairus looked up as the Rabbi and his disciples left the room. He would never forget this day, that he was sure of and the words that the Rabbi had spoken to him earlier rung in his head like a mantra
Be not afraid any longer; only believe.
This is a work of fiction based on biblical accounts. Read the true account here
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