I don’t know about you, but believing in the things that are unseen is one of the most challenging things for me to do. It’s that whole having faith thing that is so challenging.
Here’s where I struggle: I can expect and have faith to believe God can do things like providing an internship, moving in a Bible Study/Book Club at school, a trip to Ecuador, or even blessing me with friendships who challenge my faith. But when it comes to things like providing a husband or giving up my worries, I struggle to believe God is capable. I struggle to have faith in these areas.
It’s in these moments, my doubts are overwhelmingly bigger than my God.
It’s one of the most frustrating things because I see God’s movement and power in other places. I can have faith God will do certain things with different aspects of my life, but then in other places (maybe because of past hurt) I can’t let God be the all powerful God He is. I guess because I can’t see when things will change, or even if they will change.
Here recently, I met with one of my girls, Meleah, and we were discussing John 2–The Wedding at Cana. Now there are so many things to take away from this short little passage, but I’m going to ask you to just read it with fresh eyes, asking the Lord to speak to you:
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
When I read this with Meleah just a couple of weeks ago, God showed me something new and impactful. He didn’t just let me read it once, but He gave me another opportunity to examine this section of Scripture with my High School Small Group girls at church. God definitely wanted me to read it again so it would have an impact on the way I view my faith and my doubt. He didn’t want me to miss what He was saying.
God drew my attention to the servants. They are first mentioned in verse 5 when Mary, Jesus’s mom, told them to listen to whatever Jesus says.
Why would she say that to them?
She knew Jesus as the Son of God; meaning He had the power to create more wine for the wedding. Mary was confident in the power of Jesus to make something out of nothing–to fix the problem, and she shared that confidence in Jesus with the servants.
In verse 6, John gives us these little details about how there were jars for purification, which were used to wash and cleanse people. Then in verse 7 Jesus tells the servants to fill these jars up with water. And they did. In verse 8, Jesus tells them to fill up a cup and take it to the master of the feast. And they did.
Now hold on a second, these servants were told by Jesus to fill up jars with water. That’s something I can do. I can fill up jars. That’s easy. I can see that. Then Jesus tells them to fill a glass with the water from the jars that were used for purification. I can do that too. I can see the cup filled with water. But then Jesus tells them to take a cup of (probably) dirty WATER to the MASTER of the feast. I don’t think I can do that. I can’t see the change that will fix the problem.
Unlike the servants, I would be looking at Jesus and saying, “Jesus, this cup is still full of water. Nothing has changed. How am I supposed to take a cup of water (that’s probably dirty considering the jars were used to cleanse people) to the master of the feast, when he’s expecting wine?”
Isn’t that where the faith comes in?
Jesus is calling these servants–calling ME–to have faith.
Faith that the current water will change to wine even if I can’t see the change.
Faith that my current circumstance will be changed even if I can’t see the change.
It’s not by accident that Mary told the servants to listen. I think she gave them the encouragement they needed in order to take the water to the master of the feast. Her faith in Jesus’s power was enough for those servants to have faith to take that cup of dirty water to the master of the feast even if they couldn’t see the change.
“So they took it.”
But catch what happens next.
The water didn’t change into wine as soon as they headed toward the master of the feast. NO! Verse 9 tells us that the water turned into wine when the master of the feast TASTED.
That’s incredible to me.
Not only did the servants go towards the master with water in their hand, but they handed the cup of dirty water to the master of the feast.
The only thing these servants could see was water.
Their problem hadn’t changed.
Their circumstance hadn’t changed.
Yet, when they let go of what they could see and trusted in the unseen power of Jesus, that dirty water transformed into good wine.
This is absolutely encouraging and challenging to me because I know that when I’m walking along this journey I struggle to have faith like that. I struggle to let go of what I can see right now. I struggle to place my problem in the hands of the person with the solution.
Instead of having faith, I have all these questions: Jesus, will you really change this? Will you really solve my problem? Right now, all I see is water; when will you make it good wine? Will you change my circumstance? Will you take my problem and bring about a good solution?
My questions are endless, but I can learn something from the servants. They didn’t ask questions, but they let go of what they could see in that moment and trusted in the things that are unseen–the power of Jesus.
The servants, who had been encouraged by Mary to listen, had faith Jesus was capable of doing much. They went expecting Jesus–not asking questions–to change that cup of dirty water. They weren’t focused on when it would change, but rather who would do the changing.
It was in that moment of realization that God spoke this simple truth:
Stop focusing on when things will change, and focus on Me–the one who changes things. I have the power. Hand me your cup of dirty water, so I can make it good wine.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want dirty water; I want good wine. I want to believe in the power of Jesus even when I can’t see it. I want to walk over to the Master of my Life and hand Him my dirty water and let Him transform that into good wine.
The story isn’t over though and I love that it didn’t end there. Look back at the end of verse 11, “and his disciples believed in him.” The servants had faith in Jesus–so they went faithfully and Jesus manifested His glory–which produced belief in the disciples.
I want faith just like that.
I want faith in the power of Jesus.
I want faith that is focused on who changes things rather than when it will change.
I want faith to do whatever He asks so that His very glory will be manifested for others to believe in Him.