“Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son lives.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living… and he himself believed and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee” (John 4:50-51,53-54, NASB).
In Part 1 of this meditation I compared and contrasted the predicament of the royal official in this story imploring Jesus to heal his dying son with my own pleas for God to heal my dying wife of terminal cancer.
The difference between God’s responses to the plea of the royal official in this story and to my plea was in the destination, the place where God was leading each of us: to faith and to faithfulness.
God answered both of our pleas for healing. The official’s son was healed and my wife was taken to heaven where she is whole and no longer suffering. Yet “healing” wasn’t God’s answer either to the royal official or to me.
Jesus showed this royal official the way to faith and the healing miracle was a sign pointing the way. Since I was already a follower of Jesus, He was leading me further into a life of faithfulness to His calling and His will.
So, the royal official got faith and I got faithfulness!
I can’t explain how, where or when God will answer our prayers with a miracle, but I have learned something about how we pray for miracles. When we pray and ask God for a miracle, for healing, for deliverance, it’s often with the intention of bringing a happy ending to a tragic situation we’ve found ourselves in.
So, we pray happily-ever-after prayers for fairytale endings to whatever calamity has beset us.
And, that’s exactly what the royal official was asking from Jesus–a happy ending to his family tragedy. He wasn’t a disciple of Jesus. For all we know, he may not have even believed in God. But he did want his son to live. And he probably had heard that Jesus was a miracle-worker and so that’s why he beseeched Jesus to come with him to heal his son.
But the royal official’s behavior is not so much different than ours; not so much different than we who are already followers of Jesus. We just want Jesus to resolve our difficulties, ease our pain, relieve our distress.
So, we pray for happy endings. We pray happily-ever-after prayers for fairytale endings.
But, God answers with His sovereign will.
God’s answer to our prayers is always that which draws us closer to Him, aligns us with His will, and enables and empowers us to accomplish His plans and purposes through our lives.
God wants us to lay aside our desire for happily-ever-after lives in lieu of desire for Him and total surrender to His sovereign will. In other words, we have to give up our personal plans for a fairytale life and embrace God’s plans for our eternal life.
And it’s a frightening proposition. Because Jesus described this way of life, this life of total surrender, as one of nailing my own will to a cross and then carrying that cross with my dead will nailed to it around with me all the time with me so I will know Who is really in charge and Whom I serve. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23, NASB).
It’s the way of the cross. It’s the road from faith to faithfulness.
And, it’s the place you go when you have no other options but to trust completely in God. The road to get there is bumpy and often treacherous. The sign at the entrance says “Total Surrender” and it’s occupied by desperate people.
It’s the place where God wants you to go. And, when you gt there, you will find Jesus and all the answers to your prayers waiting for you.
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us..” (1 John 5:14, NASB).
- The Road From Faith to Faithfulness, Part 1: The Destination – John 4:46-54 (stevesbiblemeditations.com)