We’re presented with Jairus, a “synagogue official,” whose daughter is dying. "My daughter is at the point of death,” Jairus tells Jesus. “Please, come lay your hands on her --- that she may get well and live.” Jairus seems to have a great deal of faith in Jesus’ power to heal his daughter, and Jesus agrees to go to Jairus’ home.On the way they encounter a poor woman who was “afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.” She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors “and had spent all that she had.” Jesus stops to help the woman, and while he is doing so, Jairus’ daughter dies. “Your daughter has died,” Jairus’ friends report. “Why trouble the teacher any longer?”I imagine that Jairus is accustomed to having his requests granted on his terms. After all, he is a leader in the spiritual community, a man of importance. His faith and the faith of his friends is shaken when Jesus does not do what is expected — heal his little girl upon request. The poor woman with the hemorrhages, on the other hand, has been suffering for over a decade, and yet her faith in God’s power to heal her is still alive. If you’re like me, you have a timetable in your mind for how events should take place in your life. I want my days to proceed in an orderly fashion, and when any disruption takes place, I want it fixed immediately. God, more often than not, refuses to comply with my timetable. If I pray, I want an immediate answer. If I’m sick, I want to get better by the next morning. I certainly don’t want to wait 12 years for anything. I’d probably give up after about one month."Do not be afraid; just have faith,” Jesus tells Jairus, repeating a theme that emerges in Mark’s Gospel. Fear and faith are positioned as opposites. More accurately, it might be said that our fears indicate where our faith truly lies. If we fear death, financial ruin, the loss of a loved one, these fears suggest that our faith is in these things to make us happy and whole. By forcing people to wait — several hours or several years — their faith, or lack of faith, is exposed. Is that why God makes us wait, to test our spiritual resolve? I don’t pretend to know the answer, only that it seems to happen often in my life. Do not be afraid — this is not a call to be brave, but a call to be faithful. We are not asked to display stoic courage in the face of adversity, but to trust that God is really in control even when events suggest otherwise. Maybe another way to put it is that just because we feel out of control of our lives does not mean that God is out of control.Bill Peatman writes from Napa. He may be reached at [email protected]. PULLQUOTE: We are not asked to display stoic courage in the face of adversity, but to trust that God is really in control even when events suggest otherwise.