by Stephanie Olson
In my Bible reading I came along the story of John the Baptist questioning Jesus. After John prepares the way for the King of kings, he called King Herod out for having an adulterous affair with his brother’s wife. Apparently, Herod was slightly embarrassed and miffed at this statement and threw John in prison. And so, John, sent a few of his messengers to ask Jesus this question, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matt 11:3)
Here we have this amazing man who has been called by God to prepare the way for the Messiah. He baptized Jesus! Those are some mighty sandals the Lord has placed on his feet. And now, he is in prison with the Triple D Syndrome: discouragement, depression, and doubt. It’s hard to believe that someone “this called” by God, someone prophesied about in Scripture, someone who prepared the way for the Christ, could be discouraged and depressed. And even more astounding is the fact that he was doubting the fact the Jesus actually was the One. And yet, as I read those words over and over: Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another? I realized that today as I write this, I am right where John was.
I may not be in an actual prison with walls and bars, but perhaps a prison in my own mind.
John had been given promises by God. He knew and proclaimed that he, himself, baptized with water, but there would be One who would come that would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. He had been promised and he proclaimed, “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
But John had not seen this happen and now He was in prison for a bogus crime.
Wow. Have you been given promises from God that you have not seen come to pass? Or worse, it appears the exact opposite has happened. I have. And when that happens it is very easy to be plagued by the Triple D Syndrome. It’s easy for me to become discouraged, depressed, and it’s easy to begin to doubt that I have even heard God correctly. It’s easy to doubt the fact that God is on my side. And it’s easy to doubt that God has called me to work in His Kingdom.
Jesus responds to John by saying, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: ‘The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleaned and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.’” (Matt 11:5)
He comes in with the kicker, “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Matt 11:6)
Whoa and ouch. But then, after the messengers left to share that not so encouraging news with John, Jesus commends John for being the greatest of all the Prophets. A Prophet who not only preached about the coming Messiah, but presented Him to the world. And yet, John did not get to see those promises fulfilled in his lifetime.
God has given me promises; and some of them I have seen come to pass and some I haven’t. The ones that haven’t come to pass seem so easy, in my mind, for God to fulfill. Haven’t you thought things like, God, c’mon, it’s only going to take one person to write a check to fulfill that promise. Or, I’ve been praying for my wayward child to return for years, can’t you just speak to their heart and make that change? Or how about this, God, I know it is your will for my husband/wife/loved one to come to know you. Why don’t you just reveal Yourself to them already?!
It can be hard to trust and simply know that God is going to fulfill His promises to you. Very hard. But He is a God who is faithful and a God that cannot lie. In fact, Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
So, if He has given you a promise He will fulfill it. Not necessarily in our timeframe or the way we might like to see happen, but make no mistake, He will fulfill His promise to you…and to me.
And so, this morning when I read, And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me, I had to honestly ask myself, Am I offended because of Him? I believe I was.
So, I offer this prayer for myself and anyone else who might like to join me:
Jesus, forgive me. I have been offended because of You. I have lived with discouragement, depression, and doubt because I don’t see, in the natural, what I think I should see. Please give me the ability to trust You with everything. I thank You that You say in Hebrews 10:23 that I can hold tightly without wavering to the hope I affirm, for You God can be trusted to keep Your promise! I now come boldly to the throne of grace and say, “Your will be done!”