Today’s Scripture: Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 2:1, 3
|The one who heralded the way for our Savior’s coming, John the Baptist, was bold as a lion, strong in the faith, and busy in the work he was called to do. He stood above all the other prophets. Living a life free of distractions, he chose a humble existence in the wilderness…nothing flashy, just faithful.
Not one to mince words, John corrected Herod and Herodias (Herod’s brother’s wife) for their adulterous relationship. He imparted to them God’s wrath and warned them of their sin. John was a man who said what needed to be said without fear of whose toes were being stepped on. He was anything but politically correct. Well, John’s scolding did not sit too well with the king’s wife, and so, he was thrown in Herod’s fortress-like prison near the Dead Sea. A dry, arid, desolate place, this prison was isolated and nothing like anything John had ever known. John the Baptist loved being outside, and now he was confined in a dungeon-silenced.
Surrounded by dark emptiness, this bold, fearless preacher began to doubt that he was right about the Messiah. No longer looking at the big picture, he allowed questions to creep in that did not belong in that dungeon with him. Think about it. The greatest person born in all of history (aside from Christ in human flesh) was experiencing doubt and fear; he was no longer sure that God’s promises were even true.
How disappointed Jesus must have been in him…that is how you or I would imagine the Lord feeling about this situation. However, Christ’s response to John’s weakness was not one of judgment. Rather, Jesus told John’s disciples, “Tell John what you see. Remind him of what is true.” He was tenderly asking John to remember the prophecies He had already fulfilled and was fulfilling. Instead of scolding him, Jesus praised John for being a man of conviction and courage and defended John even in his days of doubt.
What should you do when you have days of doubt? Don’t keep it inside or talk it over with other people. Take it to Jesus. Go right to the source. Let your God remind you of how powerful He is. Maybe He has you in a place of confinement where you don’t feel free. Don’t allow doubts to eat away at your courage. It is better to squash the doubts before they grow. Your bleak circumstances do not mean God is done with you. He truly loves you. Read Matthew 11:1-11 today. The One that understood John and defended Him in his time of weakness is the same God we serve today. Isn’t He worth enduring for in your desert place?
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.