The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” John 4:49-50

Jesus didn’t do what the royal official asked. He asked Jesus to come, instead Jesus gave him a promise. If I was the royal official I would rather have Jesus come than just leave me with his word. However, the child was healed, but not the way the royal official expected. I find Jesus quite often doesn’t answer my prayers the way I expect.

As we read the Gospels we find there was no one way Jesus answered people’s requests. Sometimes it was a word, sometimes it was by touch and sometimes it was a promise. Sometimes there’s no record of the person even asking (John 5:6-7). God treats us as individuals.

There is much to be gained from reading testimonies and biographies of other people’s experiences of God. Yet I have discovered it doesn’t mean God will do the same thing in my life as he does in others. We can’t put God in a box and say, “You must answer this way.” God’s ways of imparting healing, guidance and direction aren’t necessarily the same for all Christians. It’s tempting to think God’s directives are similar to a doctor’s prescription. Doctors have a standard pattern for treating certain ailments, do this three times a day and you will get better. Yet even this isn’t always effective in the physical, not everyone’s body responds the same way to particular medications. Even more so in the spiritual, God doesn’t operate according to a predetermined prescription but rather what is best for each person.

God knows us individually so we can trust that his answers for us are best.