Today's Gospel story shows us a contrast between true believers and non-believers. Jesus wants us to trust in his words instead of looking for undoubtable signs. When the royal official put his trust in what Jesus said to him, he became a true believer. We, however, often put our trust in the idea that "seeing is believing."
To have strong faith and to overcome doubts, we have to choose to trust what God has told us in his Word, rather than rely on what we can see. Those whose faith depends on visible proof are easily shaken when misfortunes and trials come along.
For example, do we make the sign of the cross at the end of a prayer because we think this gives it more power? It's much better to make the sign of the cross with our lives by trusting what God has said. Our prayer power comes from our unity with Christ, not from a hand gesture.
God speaks to us clearly in scripture and in Church teachings, which explain how to apply the scriptures to our lives. There's no reason to be uncertain.
Have you ever considered responding to a call from God but you waited for a sign before saying yes? Usually we get the sign but we doubt it's from God because we don't like the answer, so we wait for another sign.
When we're praying for an end to troubles that others are causing us, we get impatient looking for a sign that God will knock them to the ground with a bolt of Holy Spirit lightning! We should be spending the time, instead, researching what God's Word teaches about loving the troublemakers and finding peace by letting go of anger and frustration through unconditional forgiveness.
When we want God to prove his love for us by giving us the miracles we seek, we're not trusting what scripture says about him. We want God to do our bidding as a sign of his concern for us. But only by trusting in his promises can we understand and appreciate that he has a better, although still unknown, plan.
If we insist on seeing signs and wonders, we're telling God what conditions he must meet to satisfy us. We're rejecting his superior knowledge, daring to presume that we know better than he does about what's good for us.
Trust doesn't make sense. Signs and wonders make sense. We prefer things to make sense, but then we don't need faith. It's far better to trust, because trust opens our faith, and faith paves the way for real signs and wonders -- signs and wonders that are not proof of God's love but are pure gifts!
If you want to continue reflecting on today's Gospel reading, John 4:43-54, watch Terry and Ralph's program "Good News for Today": The Healing Hands of Jesus