John 4:50 – Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
If the Royal Official Could
The royal official didn’t first wait for a miracle before he believed. He didn’t wait for Jesus to first “prove himself” worthy of trust. He took Jesus at his word. He believed Jesus. Jesus told the man his dying son would live. That was all the official needed from the Lord. To be sure, Jesus didn’t owe the man such kindness, but he was pleased to bless him anyway. That’s the definition of grace.
How I wish this verse described me more. To take that step of faith, without prior confirmation of the desired result, can be frightening. Yet I sometimes find myself still wanting that confirmation in advance. Sometimes the Lord is pleased to throw me a bone, in spite of my small faith. But he would rather have me remember the hundreds upon hundreds of ways he has already proved himself capable and faithful to me and my loved ones throughout my life.
A Work in Progress
And yet I am encouraged. Despite my shortcomings the Lord is still drawing me closer to himself and conforming me more and more to the image of his Son. Slowly (so very slowly) I am maturing in my faith. The trust I long for comes more often than when I first began my pilgrimage. Is that your story too? Can you relate to that?
How precious it is to believe, and then have the eyes to see the blessing and the hands to receive it. The royal official believed first, then experienced the miracle. This isn’t a presumptuous faith, holding God to promises he never made. It is a dependent faith, one that cries out to God, “My hope is in you and you alone O Lord”.
Prayer and Scripture must undergird our growth in Christ. Reading God’s Word, reminding ourselves daily of his goodness and greatness, and then praying and meditating upon it builds us up with encouragement and confidence for both present and future faith. And this is needed. With such confidence in God, many throughout Scripture were able to face impossible odds and come out victorious on the other side. The nature of our victories may vary, but we too may be confident when we take the Lord at his Word.
• What’s the hardest part for you about trusting God?
• In what situations do you find yourself wanting that “prior confirmation” before stepping out in faith and trust? Why do you think that is?
• What are some things you can put in place today to help you grow in your ability to take the Lord at his Word in your daily life?
• Tell a fellow Christian your plan and begin praying together for your faithfulness to grow.
Trustworthy God, to whom else shall I turn? You alone have the words of eternal life. You alone are worthy of my hope. Forgive me for those times when I have not trusted you, when I have first turned to other places and people to meet my needs. Out of pure grace you have been faithful to me and my loved ones time and time again. Your track record in my life is long and spotless. And yet, my faith in you can still be feeble and fleeting. Forgive me. Please give me greater confidence in you, a longer memory of your great work in my life, and help me to draw closer to you, that I might know you better and love you more. In Christ I pray. Amen.
This Week’s Prayer Guide
[You can use this prayer guide in your own personal prayer time. However, I encourage you to use it with a group of Christian men. Each week you should spend time praising God for who he is, confessing your sin to him (be specific) as well as expressing gratitude to him for his gracious forgiveness. Also, don’t forget to thank God for the many ways he has poured out his goodness in your life. Then, focus on the following areas of supplication, which will change from week to week.]
Petition – prayers for yourself
• Help me to mature in my faith and to increasingly please God by my thoughts, words, and deeds.
• Particular struggles in various relationships
• My activities for this day
• Other needs
Intercession – prayers for others
• My Family
• My local church
• My denomination
• Para-church ministries, particularly Christian education and discipleship
• Evangelistic ministries
• Other needs