Seeking God in hard moments isn’t always automatic and many choose to curse God when tough times happen.
Thursday, January 6, 2022
By Kelsey Neitzel, Journey Small Group Leader
“Once more [Jesus] 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. This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.” (John 4:46-54)
Throughout this passage I see a progression of faith one can experience with Jesus. John shows me three stages of faith in this passage. First, a ‘crisis faith’, which is calling out to Jesus when a crisis is happening in life. For this father, the crisis was his son becoming ill. The second stage of faith I see is ‘faith without proof’. When Jesus tells the father, “Go, your son will live”, Jesus hasn’t shown him any physical evidence that this is the case. Jesus didn’t go with the man to his home to perform a miracle, but the father had to choose to believe Jesus at his word. And the third stage of faith, a ‘saving faith’, happens when I know Jesus and trust him apart from just solving my crises. In the story, the father has this faith after he was able to prove to himself that his son wasn’t cured by a coincidence, but only at the exact time that Jesus said his son would live. At that point, Scripture says his whole house believed…a ‘saving faith’.
What kind of faith do I have? Seeking God in hard moments isn’t always automatic and many choose to curse God when tough times happen. What about me? Do I think I can do it on my own? Do I put God on a shelf and wait for a crisis to bring him out? What do I do after the crisis? Do I put God back on that shelf and wait for the next crisis, or do I progress to ‘faith without proof’ and trust Him? Do I follow him to a ‘saving faith’? What do I do when the answers aren’t immediate like they were for this father and son? Do I trust in the timing that God has planned? How often do I expect God to answer in my way and in my timing? And when he doesn’t, do I doubt His love and purpose in my life?
“God, please help me to have a faith that grows from ‘crisis faith’ to a faith that takes you at your word. I want a mature ‘saving faith’ in you for who YOU are, the Christ, the Son of God. Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.