"When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 'Lord', he said, 'my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.'
Jesus said to him, 'Shall I come and heal him?'
The centurion replied, 'Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.'" Matthew 8:5-8
The New American Standard translation says verse five differently: "my son lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly." The centurion was a man of stature and responsibility yet he went out of his way to seek Christ for intervention on behalf of his "son". Perhaps the centurion was asking for his own son or maybe this person was "like" a son to him. Nevertheless, this person that the centurion sought help for was greatly loved by him, and watching his torment had pierced his heart. The centurion knew how to get a job done. By his actions in this Gospel account, he also believed that Jesus knew how to get the job done too.
This last April, my oldest boy was in a "freak accident". The result was one of the most trying moments of our lives. The trauma caused several bulging discs in his neck, severe bone contusion, his left side was numb, tingling, constantly twitching, and had lost almost all strength. His neck and back pain was unrelenting and inconsolable. He walked with a cane and wore a neck brace. He was hospitalized with no remedy offered from the medical field for relief of his physical torment. My boy was indeed "suffering terribly" and to watch such a thing with the inability to help, will indeed try a soul. We all go from "faith to faith". By God's grace, the faith that God gives us upon belief in Jesus as Savior, is tested and purified. This was not the first or even the fifth trying physical affliction that my oldest boy had endured. Here he was a young teen, born with this, misdiagnosed with that, subject to yet another, and now suffering beyond what he could endure. Only the intervention of Christ would do in this case and as a family, we found our faith being tried yet again.
I look at the centurion from Matthew chapter eight and marvel at his faith. Here we see a gentile, who by typical thought was one who never had an understanding or upbringing that would tell of the love of the one, true living God. Additionally, his employment role was one that represented those that ruled and even oppressed the people of God. In other words, the centurion was an unlikely candidate of such great faith, an amazing faith, a rare faith which garnered a public declaration from God. We know that faith comes from God but how was it imparted in this man's life? Was it an instant revelation as he received the deposit of God's truth in his soul? Did the centurion hear the commotion of his discourses or the miracles that rang through the streets? I ponder if there was a particular eye witness account that sealed the drawing of his soul. Something clearly happened when Jesus walked on the scene of this man's story because the obvious result was that when it came to be exercised or proven, it was revealed as true. The centurion just believed Him. His heart had already responded to God's presence and made a home for it to stay. I wonder how his faith was challenged, charged, and was it so trusting that other gentiles were inspired too? Either way, this man had great faith, pure faith, unabashed and surrendered faith, and it was proved when desperation was at his door. This man needed a miracle and He believed that Jesus was the source of such a thing. His faith was certain and steadfast; confident and content. He approaches Jesus calmly with the problem already convinced that He held the answer. In fact, the centurion did not need a performance, did not ask for a sign, and even refused a personal appointment. He just believed Him.
That is great faith!
I am familiar with trials and hardships and I am also familiar with God's grace and His indwelling presence that helps us believe in who He is. I love that God honors our faith and answers according to His will and not our works. Jesus does not withhold His witness, His evidence, or His promises from anyone. Therefore, Jesus will answer anyone who calls on Him by faith. He does not play favorites and will oppose any such behavior (Deuteronomy 1:17, Acts 10:34, James 2:9). In fact, the Lord does NOT wait until we are strong either. Instead, He moves perfectly and with great power when we are weak.
"But he said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, insults, and hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
The Lord Jesus lives to love us and will exhaust every effort to do so. This truth is proven in the Cross and how He takes the place of wrath for you and me.
Believing God starts with baby steps. When trials or hardships come and answers or intervention are needed, these are all opportunities to believe God. The centurion recognized God's power. When we are faced with seemingly impossible situations and are failed by what humanity offers, we will always find out that God is the only one to redeem and rescue. It is God's power that is proven time and time again as diagnoses are banished or staved, and darkness is prevailed by His light. I am grateful for all of my hardships because the Lord has been proven as my great helper in every area that I needed Him for. With the proof that I have collected over several years, I can say by God's grace, I have learned to just believe God. Even when my son was suffering and the days stretched into weeks and the weeks moved into months, it never changed my belief that Jesus was indeed our Healer. Consider a faith in Christ like that of the centurion that grabs the attention of God:
"When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following Him, 'Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.'" Matthew 8:10
Know today that you are loved greatly by the Lord and whatever has come your way, the Lord is with you and is drawing you closer to Himself. Jesus will prove that no matter your background before, He is one who honors your belief in Him"today". Maybe your faith is faltering today or seemingly not there anymore. Allow the Lord to do a work in your faith so that it would be purified and proven true. The more I have gone through, the more "spoils" of God's truth that I have gained. I own them. They belong to me and cannot be taken or shaken from my grasp. I take my spoils and share them with so many others that I minister to in order to inspire their belief in Christ too. I've seen so many start with baby steps in their faith walk and as God answers them, their faith continues to grow. I am convinced and encouraged by the witness of God in my life, the lives of others and from my brother the centurion : when I just believe God, miracles will indeed follow!
"'Then Jesus said to the centurion, 'Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.' And his servant was healed at that moment." Mattew 8:13