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When Doubts Arise, Part 1

February 29, 2016

Grace to you! What do greats like Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and Gideon all have in common? They all were giants of the faith. They accomplished great things for God by believing Him in insurmountable odds. They are even included in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 of people whom we should look at for what it means to ‘believe’ God. Yet ironically enough, they also have something else in common. At some point in their life, they doubted God. How can they be great warriors of faith and yet have had doubts? And how come we still have doubts at various times? Does that mean God can’t use us? An incident in the life of the John the Baptist can help us through our own doubts. We see how Jesus graciously dealt with his time of weakness and lovingly put him back on the right track.

Luke 7:18-23 says, “ 18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19 calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?'” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

John the Baptist, who preached Jesus so clearly earlier in his ministry (John1:29), is now beginning to have doubts. What caused his doubts and what can cause ours? First, John was in prison. His suffering in prison made him question what he confidently believed earlier. There are times when we go through suffering that it can tempt us, although not make us, question the Lord in various ways. The human soul can feel itself weakened when it faces suffering. This has been the struggle for many throughout the ages, “Why am I suffering?” John the Baptist was no different. His suffering raised a big question in his mind if Jesus was really who He claimed to be.

Second, unrealized expectations tempted John to doubt Jesus. What was John looking for? When he was preaching, John was looking for the fullness of God’s kingdom to come at any moment. John was anticipating immediate judgment for God’s enemies and full blessing for God’s people. What did John get? A delay in God’s program while he wasted away in prison. Often we think God is going to work one way or should(!) work one way in our life and yet He does something totally different. It can knock us off our feet because it is so contrary to what we were banking on. Next week we will look at other things that tripped John up and how Jesus led him out of his doubts! Stay tuned!

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