There is an aphorism that “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
My counter to this is that if God wants you to laugh, he will tell us his plans for you.
I got to thinking about this listening to today’s Gospel. When Jesus told the people surrounding Jairus’ daughter that she was sleeping, they laughed at him. When Sarah was told she would have a child, she laughed at this in doubt.
One of Jesus’s patterns was to work a miracle in response to faith. He worked this miracle in response to Jairus’ faith, a ruler in the synagogue. Yet first Jesus had those who laughed in mocking doubt put outside, first, leaving only the mother, father, and some disciples.
I thought that even when I am dutifully praying for someone, how much faith was I really putting into this? How perfunctory is my prayer and how expectant am I that if it is his will, he will do it? How much laughter is there in me at the thought that a prayer will be answered? I think of the middle part of this Marcan sandwich of the women with the flow of blood who suffered for 12 years and would have been excluded from community life because of this. She persevered in her faith and took the opportunity when presented to her.
These are not just “cool stories,” but templates for us to build our own expectant faith on.