Monday, December 3, 2012

Doubting Faith

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" (Matthew 11:2, 3 ESV)

Life is full of unmet expectations, of disappointments, of hurts, and pains. And when life wounds us, we inevitably ask the question (or at least acknowledge that it is there): "God, are you still there?"

John the Baptist had been put into prison for doing the work that God had called him to do. We don't know for sure, but scripture gives clues that perhaps, like many others, John expected that the Messiah would overthrow the Roman government and restore Israel to its former glory. And so Jesus enters, and one by one begins to fulfill the prophecies of old about the coming messiah. Finally! It's finally happening!

But... John is in prison. Jesus is active in his ministry, but doesn't seem to be doing anything about the Romans, or establishing his kingdom. "Maybe he's not the One... Maybe there's another coming... "I'm not sure I can wait for another... Jesus, are you the promised Messiah?"

What do we do with unmet execrations of God? With the best intentions, we all form different ideas about what we think God should do, how He'll do it, and when. But what happens when He doesn't follow the script we've made for Him?

We first have to check our work. Did God really say (fill in the blank)? How did I come to that conclusion? What source am I relying on for that information, and is that source time-tested and proven to be reliable? There may be many other questions to consider, but the point is don't simply dismiss the possibility that you're wrong. Check your work, and let other trustworthy and objective people check it too.

Jesus replied to John's disciples:
And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me." (Matthew 11:4-6 ESV)

Jesus was reminding John of all the things that he was doing, thus proving to John that he was in fact the Messiah. He was communicating to John: "I'm the man, John. I'm about my Father's business, not yours or anyone else's. Everything promised will come, when it is supposed to. I know you're beginning to doubt, but you gotta trust me bro."

No one has perfect faith. No one trusts God perfectly. And without His Spirit, none of us can trust Him at all. When (not if, but when) doubt comes, remember that God is in control, that He loves us, an that He is able to do what He has promised.

The following is from a song that I think really captures the heart of doubting faith. I hope it stirs your heart to return to The Lord and restore your hope in Him. He is able. He is faithful. He is our strength, always.

I’ve tried to stand my ground
I’ve tried to understand
but I can’t seem to find my faith again

like water on the sand
or grasping at the wind
I keep on falling short

please be my strength
please be my strength
Cuz I don’t have anymore
I don’t have anymore

I’m looking for a place
that I can plant my faith
one thing I know for sure

I cannot create it
I cannot sustain it
It’s Your love that’s keeping (captured) me

Please be my strength…

at my final breath
I hope that I can say
I’ve fought the good fight of faith

I pray your glory shines
through this doubting heart of mine
so my world would know that You

You are my strength
You and You alone
You and You alone
Keep bringing me back home

Please be my strength- Gungor, Beautiful Things

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