Faith in Stages

Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And 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

“Notice that the official’s faith came in stages.  There was first the spark of faith, which rested entirely on the report of others.  And it was such a little faith that it only concerned the healing of the sick child.  The nobleman did not know that he needed healing in his own heart.  Then notice that his faith was so feeble that he limited Jesus’ power to his local presence.  He asked Jesus, ‘Sir, come down before my boy dies.’  Yet his faith was sufficient for him to take a considerable journey to find our Lord.
”Then there was the fire of faith.  He stood before the Savior resolved not to go away from him.  His only hope for his child’s life was in this great Prophet of Nazareth, and therefore he did not intend to leave him till his request was granted.  Then we see the flame of faith.  When Jesus said, ‘Go, … your son will live.’  ‘The man believed what Jesus said to him and departed.’  Finally there was the conflagration of faith.  When the answer to his prayers was confirmed, ‘he himself believed,’ as well his wife and son.  From that day forth he became a disciple of the Lord Jesus.  He followed him, not as a healer only, or as a Savior only, but as his Lord and his God.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Some of us read a single passage in the Bible and believe.  Others believe after a lot of study, prayer, and struggling.  Some pray for years, but even then, how much faith do we receive at that moment of accepting Jesus as our Savior?

Regardless of how much faith it is upon accepting Jesus, our faith grows as we trust Jesus more and more.  We may have not had any reservations when we accepted Jesus but look at the progression of the faith of the nobleman.  He first heard others say that Jesus could heal.  It was just a notion.  Then, he insisted on Jesus coming to his home, thinking that Jesus had to be in close proximity.  Then, when Jesus told him to go home, did he hesitate?  Did he plead more?  Or did Jesus look him in the eye, and the official knew.  Oh, to have that moment when Jesus looks us squarely in the eyes.  Nothing need be said.  Even so, the official had to confirm the time that his son became well.

I think we are like that, maybe not all.  We say that we trust Jesus, but then the first challenge in our faith appears.  We panic.  We have gone to God in prayer every day, but now we are asking questions.  We might even be making demands.  We might say, “God, what gives?  Why is this happening?  Please, help.”  There is a little space next to our heart, as our heart became swollen as the stress and pain of the test of faith was upon us.  Then the storm passes, and we realize that God was with us all along and our faith grows to fill in the space around our heart.

My heart goes out to those in the state of my birth, Mississippi, and the other places due to the intense rainfall and flooding.  My heart goes out to those in Tennessee and other places that have lost material possessions or loved ones as a result of the tornado outbreaks, a severe form of weather that usually gets stronger and more frequent in the coming months, at least in the US.  For those having trials who have faith, know that God is with you.  For those having trials who do not have faith, know that God is the only answer.  Otherwise, you are left with only questions and emptiness when disaster strikes.

Do you want your faith to grow?  It requires trusting in God in the hard times.  It means praying and Bible study in the meantime.  And it means praising and worshipping God, all the time.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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