Give Place

The home of Jairus was anything but calm and peaceful when Jesus arrived. Jairus’ daughter had just died. Matthew says that there was a “noisy crowd and people playing pipes” (Matthew 9:23, NIV). Mark called it “a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly” (Mark 5:38, NIV). Jesus said calmly, “Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth” (Matthew 9:24). When the crowd was no longer present, He entered the girl’s room with only her parents and three of His apostles. (See Mark 5:40, Luke 8:51.) In that quiet setting, He restored her to life.

I’ve been thinking today about what it means to “give place.”

When Alma taught the Zoramites how to grow closer to God, the first thing he invited them to do was to “give place” in their hearts for his words:

If ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts…

Alma 32:27-28, italics added

When I think of giving place, I think of creating appropriate time and space for the most important activities. I think of making room on my calendar, my task list, and my physical surroundings, so that I can do my work without feeling rushed or anxious. I think of reducing distractions so that I can give my undivided attention to the task at hand and to the people I am with. I think of not being too busy to hear the promptings of the Spirit of the Lord.

Today, I will give place. Just as Jesus created a peaceful environment to work a miracle, and just as the Zoramites opened their hearts to hear Alma’s words, I will make room in my life and in my heart to receive God’s grace, so that I can do my work well.

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