In troubling times it’s easy to question God. “What have I done to cause this?” “How long must I wait?” “Why should I keep praying?” “Have I not prayed enough?” “Do You really care?”
Our natural senses become short on spiritual insight. We conclude, “This isn’t fair!”
John the Baptist, chained in a bleak dungeon, asked his friends to send a question to Jesus. John felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually beaten. In a dark place, infested with rats and reeking of urine and feces, confusion flails John’s understanding of Jesus.
John reflects upon the glorious day the Holy Spirit filled him. He announced the coming of Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) John recalls baptizing Jesus shortly after. He witnesses the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in bodily form like a dove. The powerful voice from heaven, affirming Jesus, still echoes, faintly, in John’s ears, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” John experiences flashbacks of Jesus’ gentle touch healing the deaf and speaking kind words to the blind.
Confusion and doubt spin their web. Now, from John’s perspective, his fate pales in comparison to the glorious personal experiences he had with Jesus.
Calling two of his friends, John sent them to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” John sounds uncertain about Jesus’ true identity. Why would a loving, powerful Savior allow such suffering?
Jesus sent back a personal answer. “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
Jesus did not scold John for asking questions. But He tacked on a powerful message to John. “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Luke 7:23 NKJV).
Jesus was saying, “John, will you still love me even though you may never see the fulfillment of your expectations, your prayers, your hopes and dreams? Will you still trust Me and obey Me…regardless?”
“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God is not on the job. Instead, be glad you are in the very thick of what God experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner” (1 Peter 4:12-13 MSG).
Jesus welcomes your questions, your frustration, your anger. Just like when your child comes to you, you want to hear about their worries and struggles. Jesus won’t be offended. However, don’t be surprised if He answers you, “Will you still love Me, worship Me, remain loyal to Me, even though you may never see the fulfillment of your expectations, your prayers, your hopes and dreams?”