The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. John 4: 53
I couldn’t fix it. As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t make it better. I was helpless. I was powerless. I was heartbroken. I couldn’t help my child.
Parenting books never tell you about the gut wrenching pain of watching your children struggle. The how to books can give you a list of things to do or not to do, but the lists can’t prepare you for the emotional desperation that comes when you realize you can’t fix a difficult situation surrounding your child. It’s as if he is drowning just outside of your grasp and you can’t reach him to save him.
The father in our passage today was in this position. He was desperate, out of options, helpless, and heartbroken. His son was dying and he couldn’t do anything about it. With nowhere else to go, he went to Cana where the man who had turned water to wine was staying. Maybe, just maybe, he could help. It was a 16.5 mile journey. The trek was inconvenient, difficult, and humbling. The father was a man of power and position, but his wealth and status could not save his sick son. He was out of options. He was at the end of himself. So, he made the journey with the last ounce of hope he had in his heart.
I don’t know about you, but nothing drives me to my knees faster than the pain of my children. The helplessness I feel causes me to earnestly seek the Lord on their behalf because there is nothing else I can do. I can’t heal them or mend their broken hearts. The struggle is theirs not mine. It’s as if my hands are bound at my side and I can only watch as they fight against adversity. As I stand on the sidelines watching, my heart is twisted and squeezed leaving me emotionally drained and desperate to rescue them.
The sickness of the son caused the father to seek out the Healer. In his desperation, the father poured out his last drop of hope, “’Sir, come down before my child dies.’” He left his last residue of hope to rescue his child at the feet of Jesus. “Jesus said to him. ‘Go, your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way” (John 4: 49-50). In this moment an exchange occurred. Faith for healing. Healing for faith. The man’s faith brought the son healing and the son’s healing brought the man faith. In taking the only steps he could, the father brought healing to his son. His faith was rewarded and strengthened by a struggle that was not his own.
God often uses the struggles my children face to challenge and strengthen my faith. Their struggles place me in a position of powerlessness which forces me to trust in God alone. And, just like the father in the story my faith grows as I watch God work miracles in the lives of my children.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.