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14 - The Official's Faith

After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

At three days old, our daughter was taken from the hospital where she had been born and moved to the major children’s hospital downtown. We knew somewhere deep within that she had the same genetic condition that I do. There were too many signs which proved this to us, despite what the doctors around us were saying. Once she was in the NICU downtown and we’d had the chance to see her, we made the trip home to pack a bag, knowing we would be there at the hospital for some time.

Upon our return a couple hours later, we found her room filled with nurses – never a good sign. Her vital signs had dropped in our absence. We had left her in stable condition with no reason whatsoever to suspect that she was in such shape. Our condition is gastrointestinal, and I’ve lived with it for over 30 years. We never thought we had reason to believe she would be in critical condition. We knew she would need surgery. We knew there would be a recovery process. This, however, was far beyond what we anticipated.

In that moment, all we could do was cling to the promise. Years before, my wife had seen our daughter in a dream. She had seen her as a little girl, happy and healthy. Christ Himself had leaned over to her as she watched her play and whispered, “I like Mary.” Needless to say, when the Lord speaks, you listen. That’s how we got our Mary Grace. Yet here in this moment, it looked doubtful as to whether or not we would see the fulfillment of that promise.

When the official comes to Christ, the evidence is not in his favor. His son is dying. He has seen the pain on his son’s face, felt the helplessness of being unable to do anything to save his boy. All he knows is that there is someone who can – and when Jesus speaks, you listen. This prophet, whomever he is, is apparently able to heal. If he’s said it, it will come to pass. But even knowing this doesn’t change the flood of relief and release of burden that comes from actually hearing confirmation that his son is recovering. Sometimes we know the promise, but the difficulty is simply waiting for its fulfillment.

We watched in those uncertain moments as Mary Grace recovered. We prayed for her to reach each milestone. We rejoiced as we finally got to hold her again and our hearts sank in our chests as she found her way back to the hospital a week after our departure – which had already been a 3 week stay. But through it all, we held on to the promise.

God is faithful in all things. He cannot break His word – to do so would be a violation of His character and His nature. But His timing may not be what we think it should. Why did we have so many moments of uncertainty with our daughter if He had already promised she would be okay someday? Why would the official not turn around instantly to find a servant waiting with news of his son’s healing?

I think the answer here is that we need to learn to trust the promises of God as if the events had already come to pass. God promised entire generations that He would send His Messiah, but only one generation saw the promise fulfilled – and that after thousands of years. God promised deliverance from Egypt, but only after hundreds of years of slavery and servitude for the Hebrew people. Abraham was promised a son by Sarah, and he received one – when he was 100 years old. It’s been 2,000 years since Christ walked the earth in flesh – but He has promised to do so again. The question is not will God fulfill His promises, but when. In the meantime, our role is to walk in obedience, knowing that the day of fulfillment will come – perhaps just not in alignment with our time frame.

The official received his son back from the brink of death. We are happy to celebrate Mary Grace’s life every day, for we feel as if we received her from the brink of death as well. Whatever God’s promise to you, He is faithful and will bring it to pass. Believe Him for the promise and you will find Him faithful in ways beyond your ability to comprehend.

Father, You are the promise keeper. Your word has never failed, never fallen short. You have proven faithful again and again. You demonstrate Your faithfulness and lovingkindness time after time. Help me in the moments of doubt to trust in Your promises, to remember the ways in which You have demonstrated that You will not leave me nor forsake me. In the struggles and heartaches, help me to stand firm on that which You have promised and press on, knowing You will fulfill and that I will see Your words come to pass. Thank You for Your goodness and for the knowledge that You are always true.


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