The man wasn’t going to take “No” for an answer. He was a nobleman, after all, and people usually complied with his demands. In coming to Jesus, however, he wasn’t demanding; John said that he “implored him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death” (John 4:47, NKJV). When Jesus appeared to be hesitant to go with him, the man grew more frantic: “Sir, come down before my child dies!” (John 4:49).
It was then that Jesus replied, “Go your way; your son lives” (John 4:50). The nobleman believed, John reported, and began walking toward home. It was a long walk, for it wasn’t until the next day that he heard confirmation of his son’s recovery.
How difficult was it for that nobleman to follow Jesus’ directions? He had come with one objective: to physically bring the Healer back to his son. Now, however, Jesus told him that he didn’t need to go; his son was already healed. What doubts played in his mind as he made that long journey? Did he regret not forcing Jesus to accompany him, just in case his son was still ill?
And yet, in the end, his walk of faith was richly rewarded.
Jesus told of another walk of faith. It was a young man who had wasted precious time and resources. When he left home, he had declared his independence of ever needing father or family again. Now he knew better. But how could he rectify his shameful situation? How could he face the father he had so badly hurt?
It was desperation and near starvation that moved the son to begin his long walk home. He had no delusions of being restored to sonship; he was only seeking a position as a servant. In that capacity he would at least have food. But there was no assurance that he would be hired. Had his father been like many, he would have had this ingrate forcibly removed from the property.
Again the long walk of faith was rewarded. After cutting short his son’s well-rehearsed apology, the father made it clear how he felt about this prodigal’s return: “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:22-24). Throughout the journey home, the son must have agonized over his past and uncertain future. But at the end of his walk — home!
God often asks his children to make long walks. As we trudge forward, we wonder why we should bother. Doubts sweep through our minds as we question our own worthiness as well as the depth of God’s mercy toward us. Such is the nature of walking by faith.
But at the end of our journey, we’ll be amazed to see the Father running (yes, running!) to meet us. We will be in awe of his grace and mercy as we hear the provisions he will order for us. And then we will know without a trace of doubt that the long walk was worth it all!
Walking with God requires patience and trust