At the heart of our practice of prayer has to be trust in God. We don’t – or shouldn’t – need signs to convince us of God’s love and care for us. But don’t we do that all the time? Aren’t we just like those Galileans looking for a sign? We might be hesitant to take a leap of faith that we know God is calling us to make, but are looking for some kind of miracle to get us off our behinds. We might know that healing in a certain situation will take some time, but we want God to descend, wave a magic wand, and make it all go away.
But just as the royal official trusted that Jesus could cure his son, so we too need to trust that God in his goodness will work the best for us, in his time, in his way. Isaiah tells us today that God is about to create a new heavens and a new earth, where there will always be rejoicing and gladness. But how hard it is for us to wait for that new creative act, isn’t it? We just really want to see that big picture now, please, we want to know what’s on God’s mind and where he’s taking us. But that’s not how God works is it?
It can be hard for us when we look around for blessing and don’t see it happening on our timetable. We forget, sometimes, that a big part of the grace comes in the journey, even when things are really painful. The Psalmist says, “O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.” Notice how he does not say that God shielded him from going to the nether world. But the nether world was not the end of the Psalmist’s story.
We don’t know where God is taking us today – or any day, for that matter. We have to trust in our God who longs for our good, just like that royal official. And we have to believe in the power of God to raise us up, just as he raised his Son from the dead. We all long to celebrate our Easter Sundays, but our faith tells us that we have to get through our Good Fridays first.