…there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed. John 4:46-53
“Why doesn’t God answer my prayer?” The question that I asked time and time again for years! All I wanted was to have my family back together. Was that too much to ask? I was willing to do whatever it took. I asked for forgiveness from God and from James, I was willing to forgive James for the affair and even for having a child with another woman. Why couldn’t God just bring him home so Avery could have a daddy and I could get a break!? It was so draining not knowing if or when I would see him, if divorce papers were on it’s way, if the bills would get paid, so many ifs. I can remember the physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion as if it was yesterday. Perhaps that is how the official that encountered Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John felt as well. Maybe that is why he left his home and his dying son to find Jesus. Was he tired of searching for the right doctor, treatment or medication to heal his son? Did he pray time and time again for years to end the suffering as I had? Perhaps his son would appear to get better, he would have a glimmer of hope believing that it may all be behind them and they could go on to a healthy life as I did at times in my journey with James, only to be disappointed and my heart to broken yet again with his abandonment of us. Regardless, this man and I came to a similar response, although he seemed to have come to it faster than I did. What seemed like an instantaneous response for the man conversely took me several years. He had simply asked Jesus to heal his son and Jesus replied “Go, and your son will live.” the next part of the verse reads “the man took Jesus at his word and departed.” If the Bible was recording how it went down with me it may have read something like this: “She begged God for years to bring her husband home with a repentant heart. But it was seven years before she saw an answer to her prayers.” The official in the book of John and I had similar revelations and reactions in obedience, problem was it took me seven years and it took him only half a verse! Jesus’ message was the same to the both of us, believe before you see. He wanted to grow our faith and not allow it to be built on seeing signs and miracles rather be a genuine faith. The promise of Matthew 21:20 was true for both of us, “if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” God simply was asking for us to believe that He could and would answer our prayers. That is where I get stuck. I know that God can, I often lack the faith that God will. It took me several years to erase the lie that despite all my prayers, James “would never change.” As the official headed back home to see his son, he was met by his servants with the good news that his son was going to live. When he inquired at what time he got better he discovered it was the exact time he was in conversation with Jesus.
What is it in your life that you struggle to believe that God can and will do for you? I am challenged yet again in my own life to believe that the prayers I pray God will answer. Perhaps He is waiting for me to believe first then answer my prayer? So I will cry out with another father of a son in need of a healing in Mark 9:24, I do believe, help my unbelief!