Susanna had finally settled one huge problem facing her future. Cupping her mother's face between her chubby four year old hands she said gravely, 'Mama I want to marry Abba when I'm growed up; I sawed him first'.
'Ahh', the child's mother suppressed a laugh 'Abba will be pleased to hear you love him so Susanna. But what shall we do with the wife he already has?'
'What you say is just a little …' her mother waggled her head, 'just a little confused. Would you like to hear a story about someone else who became confused like this when she was twelve?
Susanna pursed her lips, but the offer of a good story could not be ignored. And so she nodded agreement.
'There once was an important man who lived on the western shore of the blue Galilee. His name was Jairus.'
Susanna's eyes grew large. 'You mean …'
'Hush child. You must let me finish. Where was I?'
'Jairus was a 'portant man'
'Ah yes. Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue. His wife's name was Anna and their little girl was Tabitha.'
Susanna slapped her hands over her young mouth and her mother smiled secretly. Self-control came in small packages.
'One day Jairus came home from the synagogue and said,
The Nazarene is back Anna. Crowds are flocking to hear what he has to say. Some have it that he only has to put his hand on the sick for them to be healed. The Scribes and Pharisees are not happy.
Anna thought a moment then said quietly, 'you saw yourself how he healed a withered hand last Sabbath. Perhaps he is the Messiah.'
Jairus stared. He'd been thinking the same thing. But why would Jesus call that maimed fellow out in front of the whole synagogue to heal him. Deliberately; knowing that it would enrage his critics?'
Anna disturbed his thoughts.
'Tabitha and I watched him embrace the village children yesterday Jairus.' Oh husband, her heart cried, he is unlike your Rabbis in the synagogue. This man looks into their eyes; speaks as if he knows them, and the children came away blessed. 'I nearly pushed Tabitha towards him,' Anna said, 'but he suddenly looked directly at me and seemed to say "not yet".
Jairus shrugged. He honestly did not know what it all meant. Then looking about he said, 'where is Tabitha anyway?'
'Lying on her cot. She complains of a sort throat.'
It was a thoughtful Jairus who went to his daughter's room. Tell me Yahweh, is the Nazarene the Messiah?
Tabitha lay on her cot looking flushed.
"Are you all right child?"
She wrinkled her brow. 'My head hurts and my throat feels dry. But Papa, I have been thinking and I have decided whom I wish to marry'
Jairus smiled. He wanted to call her a funny child but stopped himself. "You are twelve. Perhaps … perhaps … we will talk when you get better.
Tabitha rolled over and closed her eyes. Papa is a ruler in the synagogue. He will get Jesus of Nazareth to marry me. Jesus is pretty old of course but I don't care. I just know that I love him.
She fell into a fitful sleep.
Jairus sat awhile by Tabitha's cot and prayed to Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals, then crept out.
But Tabitha grew dreadfully ill. Nothing Anna and Jairus or the Priests and Physicians did, helped. The little girl was dying.
"Jairus; the Master." Anna's voice was sudden and firm. "He will come and touch Tabitha and she will be healed. Go my husband; I believe he will be expecting you."
It shocked Jairus' friends the way Anna spoke but Jairus rolled up his garment and hurried out of the house.
"Run Sir", someone called. "He is down on the shore."
Jairus fought his way through the crowd and fell at Jesus' feet and asked him to come and touch his little girl and make her well.
But she was dead when Jesus arrived.
"Too late" the people in the house wept; but Jesus sent them outside, and taking Tabitha's hand in his, told her to arise. She sat up, alive.
Even today, Tabitha's fondest memory is of the Messiah's touch. It fills her with wonder. She realised then that he was to be her Messiah, not her husband.'
Just then, Susanna's Abba walked in, interrupting the story...
'Hello Tabitha, have you been telling our daughter your wonderful story?'
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