Jesus Knew We Would Doubt

Habakkuk 3

17-19Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!


A friend of mine stopped by our house the other night and was sharing about a book she had just finished reading. In the book the author discusses John the Baptist’s time in prison when he sent messengers to Jesus saying, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus tells the messengers to go back and tell John that He is giving sight to the blind, healing the lame, raising the dead, and preaching the good news to the poor. Then he says, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

As my friend and I talked about this passage and the author’s opinion that John was struggling with doubt as he sat in prison while the one he had proclaimed to the world was out healing the sick and raising the dead….

I had this overwhelming feeling that this unexpected visit with this friend was a message for me directly from God. I did a little research online in some commentaries and wanted to share some thoughts from http://www.biblegateway.com/ on this passage:

God Does Not Always Act As We Expect (11:1-3)

John has already recognized Jesus' identity (3:14); now, in prison, he is undoubtedly discouraged and doubting, like many other men and women of God facing trials that seem greater than their power to endure. Pursued by Jezebel and finding that even the fire at Mount Carmel had not been sufficient to dislodge idolatry from the land, Elijah asked for God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4; compare Mt 17:12-13). Pursued by Saul and frustrated by continual obstacles to God's promises, David nearly committed an act that would have stained the rest of his career, had God not intervened through wise Abigail (1 Sam 25:21-35). Most of his life the only prophet of his generation speaking the truth, torn by the hatred and impending destruction of people he loved, Jeremiah cursed the day of his birth (Jer 20:14-18; compare 15:10). Dismayed by long delays in fulfillment of God's promises to Israel, the inspired psalmist protested his people's humiliation (Ps 89:38-51). All men and women of God are of like passions as we-that reminds us to always trust in God's power rather than our own (Jas 5:16-18).

Matthew recorded John's struggle with doubt, not to condemn John, but to encourage subsequent disciples whose faith would be tested by hardships. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me could be translated "How happy will be the one who does not stumble on my account." In view of its serious use in the Gospel tradition (for example, 5:29-30; Mk 9:42-47; compare especially Mt 21:42-44), the language of "stumbling" here suggests that one's response to Jesus determines one's place at the final judgment (Witherington 1990:43-44)

Wow! Jesus wanted John the Baptist to trust..no matter what. And just as Paul learned to share God’s message even from within a dark, cold prison cell (Philippians, for example), I must do the same with my personal time in a prison of sorts (helping my son fight cancer).

See, it is easy to doubt at times when you see your son unable to do so many things other boys his age are doing.

It is easy to doubt when the highlight of his day might be sitting on the back porch for ten minutes. (Although I'm thankful to see him on the porch!)

It is easy to doubt when Nick's friends have ball games and you know Nick would love to be playing ball. (Yet I would never want these other boys to feel guilty-they should be playing ball!)

It is easy to doubt when other families receive clear MRIs and praise God for miracles.(However, I rejoice with those who receive such news....I remember similar days..they are priceless!!)

It is easy to doubt when kids who are not very nice seem to have everything they want and your son who is so sweet can’t even play his video games anymore…..(Yet I know that many of these kids still need Jesus in their heart, and I am thankful Nick has Him right where He belongs!)

YET, JESUS SAYS, “DO NOT FALL AWAY ON ACCOUNT OF ME!”

He knew there would be times when we faced prison moments while others were embracing life with total freedom. He knew there would be times when we couldn’t see Him clearly because of the darkness surrounding our life.

Thank you, Jesus, for answering John’s doubting question not by condemning him for doubting (after all, John the Baptist had already baptized Jesus and seen the dove come down from Heaven!) but by gently saying, “Do not fall away on account of me.”

Today, I hear Jesus saying to me, ‘Do not fall away on account of me.” Yes, Jesus brings healing, hope, life, joy……..but there are times when those things aren’t as easy to grasp on a personal level……times in our personal prisons. It is in these cold, dark times that our faith is tested and we find our greatest opportunities to offer genuine praise not based on our life’s experiences but based on our dependence on our Savior Jesus Christ.

Habakkuk 3

17-19Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!


Praising God,



23 Comments:

TAMMY,

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW YOU ENCOURAGE ME EVERYTIME I VISIT YOUR BLOG!!

THANK YOU--YOU ARE A BLESSING!

KIM

Blogger Sheryl said...

wow, there are again no words! that was powerful and for me. you may have thought it was for you but it definitely was to be shared with me. thank you!!

love to you,
~sheryl

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