A Healing Story
Dear friend, your story is not being written in vain.
“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” These words to the old hymn, written by John H. Sammis in 1887, come to mind when I read John 4:43-54. In this passage, we read how a “royal official” sought out Jesus to plead for his son’s healing.
In this story, Jesus returns to Cana of Galilee, where his mother had persuaded him to perform his first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding celebration. The people of Galilee remembered what Jesus had done there and they were excited to see him. When the royal official comes to Jesus, begging him to come to his house in Capernaum to heal his son, Jesus responds with “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.” The official, undaunted, says again, “Come down before my child dies.” Jesus then replies with a simple, “Go, your son will live.” We are told that the man “took Jesus at his word” and returned home to find his son well. He learned from his servants that the boy’s healing had taken place at the exact time that Jesus had spoken that he would be well. The passage tells us that because of this, the entire household of the royal official then believed.
It’s a good story, but why do we care? What does this mean for us? Why did God deem it important for this to be included in the scriptures?
I think this “royal official” was a desperate man. We aren’t told what his son’s illness is, just that the man is begging for healing. The very word “beg” conjures up images of desperation. We don’t generally beg for something that is of little importance to us. My guess is that the man was at the end of his rope. He had likely tried everything and was certain his son would die if Jesus did not heal him.
I don’t know your story, but I do know that you have either been or will be in at least one desperate situation at some point in your life. I, too, have been desperate and have fallen at Jesus’ feet, begging him to bring healing to a situation. What can we learn from this royal official, whose story may not be the same, but who shared the same desperation?
Believe that Jesus can provide the answer, even if you don’t see it happen immediately. It seems to me that Jesus almost tried to dissuade the man, alluding to the needs of many to “see signs and wonders.” It sounds at first like Jesus is not going to do what the man is asking of him, but the man is undeterred. His belief does not waver.
Jesus responds to our belief that he can provide what we need. James 5:16 tells us “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” You may not consider yourself to be “righteous,” but Romans 3:22 assures us that “righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Jesus responded to the persistent belief of the royal official. He will respond to our persistent belief, too.
Jesus tells us what to do. We must obey. Jesus told the official to go home and his son would be healed. The man may have had a thousand questions, but when Jesus said, “Go home. Your son will live,” the man did what Jesus told him to do. This does not imply that Jesus is our genie in a bottle, giving us the formula to follow that gets us what we wish for. When Jesus says to us, “Do this and I will do this,” our obedience shows him that we trust him, even if it doesn’t make sense to us.
Others will believe. Our obedience to Jesus and the work he does will result in others coming to know him because they saw our stories.
Dear friend, your story is not being written in vain. God wants you to take your desperation to Him, just like the royal official did. He wants you to ask Him to heal your situation and He wants you to believe that He will, even though He may not do it the way you think is best. He has instructions for you and He wants you to obey Him. He wants you to show Him by your obedience that you trust that He will do what He says He will do. He is writing your story and wants to use that story to bring those who see it to trust in Him, too.