I read the second half of John 4 the other day and thought of my sister as I watched Jesus move from spiritual healing to physical healing: After He gave eternal life to the woman at the well, He spent a couple of days in Samaria and then continued on to Galilee.
A royal official in Galilee, whose son was near death, begged Jesus to come and heal him.
Jesus replied, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.”
In Sunday school, Jesus’s statement here (and similar statements elsewhere) were always taught with annoyance in Jesus’s voice. But I don’t think He was annoyed. After all, He came to heal and set free and to show us what the Father is like.
I don’t think He was speaking with exasperation, I think He was telling the official why He was about to do what He was about to do: “Your family won’t believe unless they experience a miracle, so I’m going to show them a miracle.”
And then Jesus assured the official, “You may go. Your son will live.”
And He was right. The man took Jesus at His word and departed. And when he learned that his son was alive and realized that his condition improved at the exact time Jesus said, “Your son will live,” he and all his household believed.
Jesus knows who will be impressed by a miracle and who won’t. And when He knows a miracle will yield belief, I can’t imagine that He wouldn’t be very happy to perform it.
But He also knows that miracles don’t always yield belief.
Remember what Abraham said to the rich man in Luke 16? “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
Miracles are apparently wasted on some people. And I doubt Jesus, being perfect in every way, is wasteful.
Maybe that’s why some people are miraculously healed and others are not.
My sister, Laura, and I had a peaceful visit yesterday. We watched her favorite movie, ate soup, talked and then she napped while I prepared their dinner. It was just the two of us. Her husband went in to work for a few hours.
I asked her how she is doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally. She said, once again, that she is not afraid to die. She said her family is handling it well and her son is beginning to come to terms with it. She said she has accepted death – that acceptance is a grace that God gives at the end. I was grateful to hear that.
She said that even though the end came on quickly – she was just enjoying Mackinac Island a month ago – she can’t complain. She has had a lot of fun and done a lot of traveling in the six years since her battle began. The doctor’s didn’t expect her to live nearly this long.
She has always been a doer, so life on the sofa is no life for her. She is ready to go.
My sister is near death. And it might very well be her time, or it might be time for a miracle, not for the sake of her belief, because she already believes, but perhaps for some in our family.
So my prayers are conflicted. She has peace, acceptance and she is ready. But if she could be healthy enough to get off her sofa and enjoy life, she certainly would choose life.
I believe that Jesus can certainly bring her back to health. And it doesn’t hurt to ask.
So every night I ask Him to give her a restful, healing night’s sleep. And every morning I ask Him to give her a peaceful, comfortable, even joyful day. And if a miracle will yield belief in those who do not yet believe, then yes, please, Jesus, reach down from heaven and touch her with Your loving hand. Allow her husband to enjoy some wonderful retirement years with his wife. Because You came to seek, to save, to heal. Amen.
God is always good and we are always loved.