Doubt isn't for Christians. At least not the dedicated Christians, right?
Then why was I doubting? I had declared my faith in Jesus long ago, had gone to Bible college, had seen God work in and through my life, had encouraged people to trust in God ... but I was doubting.
I remember when these feelings were strongest. I wanted to be bold and confident; I knew better.
"All things work together for good to them that love God ..." the Bible says.
But knowing the answer in my head and believing it in my heart were two different things.
Enter John the Baptist.
I had never really paid much attention to him. I knew he was important, but I focused on favorites like Daniel facing the corruption of Babylon, or Peter walking on water. Little did I know how much John was going to help me.
In Matthew 11, John's in prison. I can imagine him sitting in the poorly lit room, inhaling the ghastly combo of man-stink and dried sweat. For the first time, it's really hit him that things aren't turning out the way he thought. Jesus hasn't set up the kingdom and it doesn't look like He's going to. What was He waiting for?
Familiar voices echo along the walls. His disciples have come, possibly to talk about Jesus' latest miracles. John should be encouraged.
But today the leader is different. Instead of answers, he only has questions. Painful, soul-wrenching questions. "Is Jesus really the One that was supposed to come? Or should we look for someone else?"
From the beginning John had preached nothing but Jesus. There was no denying his dedication. When Jesus appeared during one of John's messages, John proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world."
But now the stakes are higher. He's about to die and Jesus doesn't look like He's going to come through.
So John does something very difficult: he admits his doubt about Jesus.
Just think about how hard that was. He had a whole following of people who looked up to him. It would be like Billy Graham saying, "I'm not sure I had it right. I'm not sure Jesus is going to come through."
But, thank God, John doesn't leave his doubts there. He takes his doubt about Jesus to Jesus.
And when Jesus gets the message, He deals with it in the best way. He looks beyond the question and deals with the troubled heart behind it. He encourages John to remember the scriptures and not to be offended. Yes, John, you being in prison was part of His plan too.
Oh, and just in case anyone thought less of John, Jesus set the record straight.
He called John the greatest prophet of all.
What about you?
Do you think Jesus can handle an honest heart struggling to find hope? Do you think Jesus can handle when you're a little unsure of His guidance, His provision or ... dare I say it ... Him?
What I love about John's style was that he didn't gloss over things or pretend. He needed to know. And he knew exactly Who to turn to with his doubts in his weakest moment.
May we follow his example.