I can’t imagine how much easier it was for the people in Jesus day to place their faith in Him. If someone needed healing, Jesus was happy to visit the sick at their home lay hands on them and restore their health. He went to Peter’s house and healed his mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15). He went to Jarius’ home and healed his daughter. (Mark 5:22-24, 41-42)
Now imagine the nobleman of John 4, a desperate father whose son is dying. Despite his being a royal official, his son remains in a hopeless situation. The father hears that Jesus is twenty-two miles away in Cana. (John 4:46-47) If he leaves his son to go to Jesus for help, his son could die. While it breaks this father’s heart to leave his son’s side when his son’s health is so frail, he knows without Jesus, his son will surely die. It’s a risk he can’t afford to take. Imagining the thrill of having Jesus come under his roof to restore his son drives this determined father to get to Jesus as quickly as possible.
However, when the father finds Jesus, and pleads with Him to come to his house because his son is dying, instead of agreeing to go as Jesus did with Jarius when his daughter was sick (Mark 5:22-24), Jesus simply tells the nobleman, “Go your way; your son lives.” (John 4:50) Unlike Jarius, the nobleman wouldn’t have that blessed assurance of watching Jesus come under his roof to heal his child. The nobleman simply had to take Jesus’ word for it that his son would be okay. Initially this seems like it would be a test of the nobelman's faith. However, when you consider Whose word this is--the nobleman was face to face with Jesus, God in the flesh, assuring “Go your way; your son lives.” it makes sense why the nobleman could take Jesus at His word and go as Jesus directed. After all, all things were created through Him and without Him, nothing was made that was made. (John 1:3) And how was it all created? By the incredible power of His Word. He just said the word and it was done. (Genesis 1:3)
While the nobleman was on his way home his servants met him on the road. Clearly it was news too important to wait for his return home—however, what the news was he could only imagine. When he reached the servants, they announced that his son lives. (John 4:51) It was a huge blessing that his son was no longer dying, but when you consider what that word “lives” means in the Greek this was so much bigger than his son’s health no longer threatened by death. His son lives meant:
- He was back among the living—not lifeless
- He was enjoying real life
- He was active and blessed
- He was in the manner of the living and acting
- He was in full vigor
- He was fresh, strong, and efficient,
- He was active and powerful
Thrilled, the nobleman asked his servants when his son got better. As it turned out, his son’s health was fully restored the same time that Jesus had told the boy’s father “Go your way; your son lives.” (John 4:52-53) The power of God’s word touched the nobleman and his family so deeply that day that he and his whole household put their faith in Jesus.
While it had been heartbreaking for the nobleman to see his son dying before his eyes, it was the very thing that lead the boy’s father to Jesus-- leading not only to the boy’s healing, but more importantly the nobleman’s and his household's eternal salvation, because as a result of this trial they were moved to put their faith in Jesus. Don’t you just love the amazing ways that God works? Truly He turns our mourning into dancing. (Psalm 30:11)
When I'm facing an especially difficult trial, my instinct is to pray, "Oh God, deliver me from this! Please Lord take this away!" I fail to see the ultimate good the Lord is doing in my trial. All I can see is how the trial is causing me pain, inconveniencing me, or otherwise making my life difficult. However, I must remember that God does not withhold any good (Psalm 84:11) and even when a situation is so miserable there doesn't appear to be a shread of good about it, like the nobleman's son dying--even in the worst of circumstances God has good plans for us (Jer. 29:11).
May we not be so quick to pray away our difficult circumstances, and miss out on the ultimate good God wants to work in our life. Rather, while we're waiting on God's sure deliverance (Psalm 34:17-19), let us comfort ourselves with his precious promises and actively seek to find the blessings God is working in and through our trial that we would have not experienced otherwise. Not one second of our suffering is in vain. God is using every single bit of it for our good and for His glory.
Question: When has God turned your mourning into dancing?
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Copyright © 2013 Brooke Espinoza.