A fascinating story about Jesus is recounted in Luke, chapter 8. Jesus had a crowd around him when a man named Jairus approached him. Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter—his only child—was dying. So Jesus starts pushing his way through the throng of people in an attempt to make it to the man’s home.

People were clamoring for Jesus’ attention. They wanted their needs met. They were hungry for healing. They were reaching out to touch him. At one point Jesus stops, and a woman who had been ill for years is healed. At that point, a servant from Jairus’s household came to him and exclaimed, “Your daughter died. There’s no need to bother Jesus now.”

All hope seemed to be gone. What could be worse than the death of your only child? But Jesus responds, “Don’t be upset.” (Seriously?) “Just trust me and everything will be all right.” So Jesus and Jairus continue on their journey.

When they arrive at Jairus’s home, family and friends are outside weeping. Jesus walks up to them and says, “Don’t cry. She didn’t die. She’s just sleeping.” And everyone laughs at him.

Jesus walks into the house. He takes the little girl by the hand and says, “My dear child, get up.” And in that instant, she is up and breathing again!

Jesus loves children. He is the One who calls children from death to life. Jesus is the One who rouses children from hopeless sleep to joyful awakening. Jesus is the One who invites you and me to join him in reaching out to children the world has given up on, to take them by the hand, to rejoice for this one others considered lost who has found the way home.

It’s easy to overlook children. They are small. Their world seems so small. They may not appear to have much to offer us in return. But Jesus is the One who teaches us that small matters. Children matter to God, and while every child is at risk . . . there is hope.

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