Many people hesitate to trust in the promises which are given by God. Jesus called the people of His time “slow of heart to believe” (Luke 24:25). Today, as in times past, the world demands visible proof. When Jesus hung on the cross, they said: “If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him” (Matthew 27:42).
During the time that Jesus walked on this earth, there were repeated requests for Him to do signs and wonders. Although He did works that had never been seen before, most of the people still did not believe. We read in John 12:37, “but although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him.” The same is still true today. People still demand signs and remain non-believers.
The people said: “Show us, so we may believe.” But Jesus said, “Believe, and you will see.” To Martha, He said, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40) Faith was needed before seeing. That is still the same today. In Old Testament times, God did many wonders among the people of Israel, and yet the people of Israel were slow to believe. “The LORD said to Moses: ‘How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?’” (Numbers 14:11)
Even the disciples were slow to believe. We all know that Thomas said in disbelief, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Jesus was gracious enough to supply him with the evidence, and yet Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
John 4:47-50 gives us a beautiful example of what true faith looks like. A royal official came to Jesus and asked him to come and heal his son who was at the point of death. Jesus tested his faith, saying, “Except you see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe” (v. 48). The man was not deterred. He did not try to convince the Lord that he had faith. He just earnestly begged him, “Sir, come down before my son dies.” He was so sure that Jesus was able to help, that there remained no doubt. He begged Him to come quickly. Jesus, seeing his faith, put him to another test. He did not go with the man but simply told him, “Go your way, your son lives.” Again, the official did not object, but believed the word of the Lord Jesus and departed with confidence. He had no proof that anything had actually happened. He only heard the word that Jesus spoke, but that was enough. He believed that word and did not doubt. His whole hope for the health of his son was grounded on those few words of Jesus. Part of his prayer was not answered, because Jesus did not go with him as he had requested. But what Jesus said was sufficient for him. He believed and went home with a happy heart. He did not wait until he could see the results. No, he believed, and the results were realized.
On the way home, his servants came to meet him and brought him the good news, “Your son lives!” He was not surprised because he did not expect anything else. He only asked one question, “At what time did he get better?” And he found that it was the exact hour that Jesus said, “Your son lives!” The man had never doubted the words that Jesus spoke and was well-prepared for the good news concerning his son.
This story shows us what real faith is like. Many people want to see before they believe. Many would want to believe if God let a great light from heaven fall upon their way, as He did in the case of Paul. If God filled them with an overwhelming feeling of joy, then they would perhaps believe. But to simply take God at His word and trust Him the way this royal official did, to be content to go their way in faith, that seems to be too much.
However, if we believe God and His Word, as the Scriptures require of us, then the results will follow. The Word of God remains true, and to trust God to the utmost is best, yet how often people find the simple trust in God so difficult. They expend effort, tremble, quake, and pull back because they want to be absolutely sure. That is why they are so often defeated. Those who trust God, however, and proceed confidently because they do not question His Word, will be victorious in all the storms and challenges of life. They remain steadfast. We can all have this kind of faith if we take God at His word.
It is true that some people cannot believe because there are hindrances in the way that first need to be eliminated. If we do not meet certain biblical prerequisites, we cannot practice faith. But if we have met the prerequisites and still do not dare to believe, the results will remain unsatisfactory, since obedience comes at the climax of trust.
If we trust and obey, God has promised, and He has actually obligated Himself, to fulfill His promises. Faith will bring results. God will not let those down who trust Him and obey.
Believe the promises of God and take Him at His word, and the results will follow. Do not wait to see before you believe. Believe, and you will see. Believe God and His Word like a child that trusts his father. If you trust Him with childlike faith and stand on His Word and promises, all difficulties that may seem to tower like mountains before you will disappear, and you will gain the victory.