I know how hard it is to have faith in others. If someone hurt me once, chances are they’ll do it again. I can forgive them, but then I need to have faith that they won’t repeat their mistake. Believing in another person gets progressively more difficult, since there are always new ways to be thoughtless and cruel. These add up and are multiplied by however many people we know. The process is made infinitely more complicated when we consider forgiving and believing in people we don’t know personally: for example, random strangers who test me regularly on the highway.

This is why we have the Bible and the gospels in particular: In order to coexist, we need to have faith in people who can’t help but sin, including ourselves. Such belief is impossible or, at the very least, improbable, because we know that every one of us can be thoughtless.

“And [Jesus] said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”—Luke 18:27.

To be more precise, the unlikely is made more likely with the Bible’s lessons. When we pray or meditate on doing what’s right, then our hearts are in the right place.

Think back to Noah, and the reason God flooded the world.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually.”—Genesis 6:5.

If their evil hearts destroyed the world, then maybe our good hearts can save it.

Faith in yourself and others becomes possible through prayer and meditation on Jesus’ lessons. Where the Pharisees and the people of Nazareth showed their lack of faith by rejecting him, the way to be healed through faith is by acceptance—not just of Jesus, but that life is often out of our control. Such times are usually when we’re required to make a stand, declare ourselves as shepherds of the weak, or the beasts who prey on them.

What makes the gospels fun to read is that there’s so much action, drama, and movement. There are high stakes in the lives of these simple people. For example, sandwiched between Jesus casting the demons out of Legion, and being rejected by the people of Nazareth are two back-to-back tales of astonishing faith.

After seeing Legion healed, the locals were scared of Jesus, and insisted that he leave. So back across the Sea of Galilee he went, where a crowd was waiting for him. While one group rejected him, another accepted him so much that they waited on the shore for his return. Among them was Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue.

Keep in mind, this happened after the Pharisees declared Jesus a dangerous man, wanted dead or alive (mostly dead).

“And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.”—Mark 3:6.

Though many of the other priests wanted to kill Jesus, Jairus went to him for help.

“…and when [Jairus] saw [Jesus], he fell at his feet, / And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”—Mark 5:22-23.

It’s a pity that my ability to perform a leap of faith often coincides with the adrenaline rush of a hopeless situation—if only I could make such leaps when it wasn’t a matter of life or death.

Still, the faith that Jairus showed was remarkable. It wasn’t just that his fellow rulers of the synagogue disliked Jesus; they wanted to kill him. He was a criminal who had blasphemed and broken God’s law of keeping the Sabbath holy. Jairus had so much faith in a stranger that he was willing to put his position and reputation in jeopardy.

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.”—John 12:42.

To accept what your peers reject is, indeed, a strong faith.

“And Jesus went with [Jairus]; and much people followed him, and thronged him.”—Mark 5:24.

I’ve often wondered why he was followed by these large crowds. To show up and listen to him speak was one thing; following him from town to town, waiting for hours or days on the shore for him to return was something else. Most of them wanted to be healed, or had someone with them who needed to be healed. And since we are all in need of rejuvenation, the comings and goings of his followers made for a constant multitude. Plus there was this:

“And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.”—Luke 6:19.

Some people make me feel a certain way: anxious or safe, for example. Jesus’ presence made his followers feel virtuous. I think we should consider how we make others feel. What is your presence like?

“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, / And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, / When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. / For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.”—Mark 5:25-28.

There is no better medicine than being around the right person. Their belief in me encourages my faith in them, which reaffirms the faith I have in myself. On the other hand, being around the wrong sort of person, one who doesn’t believe in me, makes me doubt myself. While doubt can be necessary, since it forces us to meditate on the state of our faith, if doubt comes at the wrong time, when we’re living on faith, coasting on fumes, it can be devastating.

Just as I need people of strong faith in my life, I need to be there for others too.

“…freely ye have received, freely give.”—Matthew 10:8.

My attitude, appearance, the way I look someone in the eye, i.e., my presence contributes to others’ faith in me; so do my actions and sharing what’s really in my heart.

What is your presence like to others? How do you make people feel?

“And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”—Mark 5:29.

That’s what it’s like for me when I’m around a good person. My bleeding stops. My wounds are healed. The plague of the world’s doubt is healed by people who believe in you. It doesn’t take much: just being near enough to touch.

“And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? / And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?”—Mark 5:30-31.

I love this exchange. It began with mystical overtones: virtue going out of Jesus, as if virtue was his power, the fuel for his miracles. He seemed confused, as if not knowing who’d been healed by touching him. The disciples, as usual, didn’t understand what he was talking about. And there were lots and lots of people everywhere: singing, laughing, pushing, walking, running, hugging, praying for a miracle.

The woman “had an issue of blood twelve years,” and Jairus’ daughter was twelve-years old. I can’t help but think of the twelve tribes of Israel. If the people would come to Jesus, that is, meditate on his lessons and practice them regularly, then they/we could be brought back to life, cured of the plague of fear and doubt.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!”—Luke 13:34.

You can’t help some people. There are some of us who are lost in ourselves. If I was lost in Alberta, then a Canadian could help me. If I was lost in Calculus, then a math teacher could help me. But I’m lost in myself. Any help from the outside, like prophets, if you follow, will be removed. Coming from outside of me, they don’t know the territory, and would only get lost themselves. But if I am lost, then I can’t really help myself either. The only answer is faith.

“And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. / But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.”—Mark 5:32-33.

When someone helps us, we should acknowledge it, if not by thanking them, then by paying it forward. The woman could’ve just walked away. She got what she came for. This was her moment. Would she turn her back, like the Pharisees? No. She took a stand for what’s right by dropping to her knees, humbling herself. She recognized that a miracle had taken place.

The miracle is faith in others; with it we can do what would otherwise be impossible. Without it we’re lost. We need to believe in ourselves and others, because there’s so much we don’t know, about each other, the future, what’s best or worst for us.

“And [Jesus] said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”—Mark 5:34.

Since we know nothing of how things will work out, whether left is better than right, faith makes us whole because, with it, we accept the unknown. No longer plagued by fear and doubt, we can see the world as it is, see people as they are, and finally know our place.

Meanwhile, one of Jairus’ servants came with bad news.

“While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?”—Mark 5:35.

Jairus was willing to go behind the priests’ backs for his daughter, sacrifice his life for hers. Faith requires a sacrifice too. We have to let go of our fear and doubt.

Even when something is bad for me, I can grow accustomed to it, to the point of needing it because it’s part of my understanding of the world. But that is when I have to make a choice, take a stand.

What is my life about: fear or faith?

“As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.”—Mark 5:36.

It was an apocalyptic moment for Jairus. His daughter was dead. He was willing to sacrifice his life for hers, but would he sacrifice his fear?

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, / In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”—Proverbs 3:5-6.

Acceptance is the most difficult choice to make. But when apocalypse comes for you, there’s no pleading, rearranging, or planning what you’ll say or do. We behave according to what’s in our hearts.

“And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.”—Mark 5:37.

This is the first mentioning in these essays of those whom I like to call “The Big 3.” Peter and the two brothers, James and John, got to witness some amazing stuff that no one else did. I’ll do a full analysis on this later. Just keep in mind that what happened next was not meant for everyone to witness, only a select few.

“And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. / And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.”—Mark 5:38-39.

We cannot be afraid while showing faith; the two are mutually exclusive. This was shown and stated many times in the gospels: when Peter tried to walk on water, when the disciples were caught in the storm at sea. They were afraid when they should’ve had faith.

When your life rages as a perfect storm and you have no choice but to try the impossible, like walking on water, you will succeed if you have faith in yourself and others.

“…as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”—Joshua 1:5.

Of course, like Peter, we’re going to sink. It’s inevitable. The gospels taught that lesson repeatedly. The Big 3 fell asleep while they were supposed to be guarding Jesus in Gethsemane; the priests and his own townspeople wanted to kill him; and those who were in Jairus’ house, mourning the death of the little girl, laughed at Jesus when he told them she was just sleeping.

Maybe we can’t fight this, and have to accept that fear is a kneejerk reaction, completely out of our control. However, we can pray for faith and meditate on it, so that when we are fearful, we’ll recognize that we are “of little faith.” Then, instead of continuing to sink, we will arise, stand up for what’s right, and release our doubts—as Jesus released the demons from Legion.

“And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. / And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. ”—Mark 5:41-42.

Stand up for what you believe in. Declare your side of the fence: fear or faith, dying or living. Choose now, before life makes you choose, so that you can meditate and consider all the factors. If you wait, and your apocalypse comes like a thief in the night, then there’s no telling what you will choose.

The Pharisees and Jesus’ townspeople had waited their whole lives for their Messiah, their perfect moment. And when it did come, they had spent so much of their time and filled up so much of their hearts with doubt and mistrust. Whatever you spend your time doing, whatever you invest your passion into, that’s who you are.

We have to choose whether or not we’ll accept that. Because, in the end, it’s all about our choices: Sometimes we get overwhelmed by all the bells and whistles, the distractions of life, especially during a personal apocalypse. These distractions form a perfect storm, impairing our judgment right at the moment when the thief comes.

So pray with gladness and appreciation. Thank the world for every blessing, no matter how small. Unlike the people who died in the great flood, fill your heart with love continually. So that, when your time comes, your reaction will be no different than what it normally is.

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. / This is the first and greatest commandment. / And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”—Matthew 23:37-39.

To love God is to love everything and everyone. One is like unto the other.

“…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”—Matthew 25:40.

To love everyone and everything is to love God. You can tell if you have this love because there will be gladness in your heart. You will radiate virtue. If, instead, your presence causes doubt and discord, accept that you will have to get rid of your fear by choosing to accept that you are the miracle, your faith, your trust: With these you hold the key to not only your salvation, but others’ as well.

Meditate, pray, and be ready.

“…for the time is at hand.”—Revelation 1:3.

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