Jesus answered, “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.”
John 6:29 AMP
It’s hard for me to grasp the concept that to believe is the work God asks us to do, but He’s pretty clear about it. “This is the work of God” is not a nuanced declaration. It is work to believe in Jesus Christ, something that the Lord walks out with me again and again. But sometimes He gives me a gift of strengthened faith through someone else’s testimony. I want to share a story that was an enormous encouragement to me and an amazing picture of what the work to believe can look like.
To Believe When Things Worsen
Several weeks ago, my sister asked for prayer for one of her sons. He was experiencing night terrors regularly and they were getting more frequent and more intense. It sounded horrible and utterly demonic: screaming, crying, flailing and running around the room. This was a little boy of 4 experiencing a nightmare on steroids nearly every night. My sister and her husband were praying for their son and praying over him but the situation was worsening. They were desperate for help.
Martha prayed and waited on the Lord, listening for His Voice. Several hours later, she received His word on the situation: a diagnosis and a promise of deliverance and healing. She called my sister and gave her God’s answer. My sister and her husband received the word of the Lord through Martha as well as the promise that it was all solved. It was done. What came next was the hardest work my sister has ever done – her words, not mine.
Day after day, the night terrors continued. My nephew appeared to be no better. Day after day, my sister and her husband prayed and stood on the word God had given. When one of them faltered in doubt, the other would refuse to move off the promise that it was solved. They encouraged each other and held on for dear life. This continued for three weeks before things finally began to change.
The physical manifestations of fear in my nephew became less intense. By the end of the fourth week, he woke up dazed and confused but without any of the intense physical response to terror he’d shown for so long. That was the last ‘episode.’ My nephew was delivered from his fear and healed, just as God promised.
To Believe When Doubting Makes More Sense
For a whole month, my sister and her husband worked to believe that Jesus was Lord and that He had already rescued their son. There was absolutely nothing in what they could see and hear to support that belief. They were helpless to save or help their son under their own power. There was nothing they could do to alleviate his pain or their own doubt and unbelief. All they could do was cling to and rely on and trust in the word God gave and have faith in the promise of healing.
They battled the barrage of doubt daily. They chose to stand with God and on His promise over and over. My sister says it was the hardest work she’s ever done, and I believe her. But her work to believe bore incredible fruit. As promised, her son was healed and she and her husband experienced Christ’s own victory over evil as never before. The testimony alone is one of the most powerful I’ve ever encountered on what it is to truly believe.
I cried when my sister told me this incredible story. Not every miracle happens in an instant. Some are wrung out on the battlefield of life, one agonizing day after another. But oh, to experience not only the Love of God but also His pleasure in that work done well! All the pain, the agony of waiting and holding on when all the world is screaming, “Let go, you fool!”—when His promise is kept and His face smiles upon you, is that not a worthy compensation? The work to believe may be the hardest work we’ll ever do, but the rewards for a job well done are beyond our comprehension.