Tomorrow my son turns 6! That is crazy for me because it feels like yesterday that I was sharing the news of my pregnancy after years of trying to conceive. Caleb was born at 9:02am. Every year since that day we have celebrated his birthday with breakfast at Corner Café, a local breakfast spot, and met in front of the hospital at 9:02am with a cupcake to sing, "Happy Birthday," to our boy. It is a special time and I love the tradition and celebration of this amazing life now built into my daily existence.
Not everyone I share this tradition with takes it with the same excitement it gives me. Often I am met with a scoffing remark letting me know they think this tradition is silly. If I let it, I can allow their negativity or mocking tone steal the joy I have in this part of our celebration or even be tempted to do away with our ritual. In other areas and times in my life, I have actually allowed someone's negative response to keep me from doing just what I shared with them. I don't know if you have ever experienced something like this, but while reading the Bible this week, I was encouraged to see Jesus even had his own version of these life happenings.
Matthew 9 shares a story of a synagogue leader who came to Jesus after his daughter died. He asked Jesus to come and heal her so she may live. Jesus went into the leader's house and was me with a noisy crowd. He told them to go away for she was not dead but sleeping. The crowd's response was to laugh at him. Then in verse 25 it says:
"After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region."
1. It didn't say, "when the crowd left willingly."
Picture for me a party at someone's house. Asking the crowd to leave does nothing. You have to force them out. Its this same thing concept that I expect happened in this story. The crowd was put outside. They were probably made to leave. Jesus asking them to leave so he could heal her only elicited laughter, not compliance.
Sometimes, we have to force the negative people out of our lives. Maybe it means getting off of social media, leaving an event or conversation, or not sharing your life with certain people. When people don't respect our boundaries, we have to take action to protect our boundaries.
2. The Crowd Did Sway Jesus
Jesus didn't allow the negativity of a crowd distract him from his mission and purpose. He knew what he could do, and he intended to follow through. He stayed and he healed the girl.
Anyone who makes their mark in society or in the lives of people does so by going against the current. That means following through on what you set out to do. Maybe your dream isn't inline with family expectations. You have to respectfully stand your ground and do what you know you were made to do. This can be as simple as my birthday tradition or as big as moving to another country to start a business or non-profit. Don't allow the opinions of others to sway you. (Please note: There is a difference between seeking wise counsel and following the voice of masses).
3. The Order Of Events
What most struck me in this passage was first, he put the crowd outside, then he healed the girl. Jesus could have easily healed her in the midst of the noisy crowd. He didn't. It doesn't say exactly why, but I can only imagine that even though Jesus was God, because he was also human, the crowd was a distraction and their presence could have tempted him to doubt.
Now, I may very well be wrong about Jesus, but my speculations do apply to us. Very often to re-focus on the goal and retain the confidence in our aim, we must first silence the noise. When we allow the noise of popular opinion to cloud our judgement, we find ourselves joining the crowd instead of standing up for what we know to be right or our purpose or even what we want to do to celebrate a big event. Regardless of what the crowd that stands mocking you looks like, you must first put them outside, then do what you set out to do.
Too often we allow the opinions of others to stand in our way of our own confidence in our unique abilities and personality. We were never intended to be someone else. We must allow ourselves the space to be the beautiful person we were created to be.
I hope this truth and story met you with the same encouragement that it gave me!! May this be a great day!!!