Doubting Johns

1 04 2018

I admire ones who are self-assured of who they are and what they believe because at Rock _ndifferent moments I have been neither. I’ve written in the past struggles I’ve had, but I don’t believe any weighed as much as when I came to the point of doubting the love of my Lord, and even if He existed. Going along the roughest road of my life I became disillusioned and began to wonder if I was just wasting my time. Well there was only one way to find, dig in and investigate, was God real or not. So began an exhausting study of the greatest theological apologetics (defense, evidence, historical proof and reason on why the Bible is true) that have ever been written. Without going into a lot of detail at the end of my study, I came away with this position; What an amazing and incredible God we have!

Okay, saying all that, allow me to tell you a different problem I encountered and what I’m writing about today; the guilt of my doubt. When I got over my pity party, finished my studies and came to the realization that God is who He says He is, there for me, loving me. I was saddled with the sadness of how I could even doubt the one I call Lord. I then took this problem to others that were wiser and more stable in their faith. To my surprise each one told me of times when the same thing happened to them even if it was for a short moment. One I’ll never forget as he smiled across the desk from me and said, “Well you certainly have the right name?” Now what the heck was he talking about? My name wasn’t Thomas and everyone knows he was tagged as the disciple who doubted. He continued; “Don’t you remember the story of John the Baptist?” Well sure I knew him; the Voice crying in the Wilderness, the last prophet before Jesus who proclaimed Christ as Messiah and baptized Him; also, His cousin. What’s he got to do with anything? “John was taken and thrown into prison by Herod because he told him of the sin he was doing. Later Herod had John beheaded.” Yes, I knew all that, nothing new here. “But while John was in prison he began to question certain things, like is Cousin, Jesus the One we’ve been waiting for?” In Matthew 11:2-3 we read, When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask Him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? My friend leaned forward on the desk to look at me straight in the eye; “After all he had seen, all the preaching he had done proclaiming Jesus as Savior, he was now sitting in a damp, dark dungeon, probably never going to get out of alive. And he’s most likely thinking what’s up with this?!!” “He hit bottom and was totally confused.” Then looking harder at me he said “John, John was doubting!” Settling back in his chair he continued. “I see a small but compassionate smile coming to Jesus’s face right before He says, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” I think He knew John hadn’t lost his faith, he just hit a low point and needed a reminder he was right. Then I love what Jesus said about John next. As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.  Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  John doubted, yet Christ gave him the greatest honor for He knew his heart even in the worst circumstances.

Me and my man John aren’t the only ones that went through moments of doubt. It seems like every Christian writer, teacher and pastor I have ever studied had that moment when they just weren’t sure; perhaps even you.

“Belief in God does not exempt us from feelings of abandonment by God. Praising God does not inoculate us from doubts about God.” Eugene Petersen

“Surely… we cannot imagine any certainty that is not tinged with doubt, or any assurance that is not assailed by some anxiety.” John Calvin

“I think the trouble with me is lack of faith… often when I pray I wonder if I am not posting letters to a non-existent address.” C.S. Lewis

So as you can see even the best have had those low moments of doubt. The question then becomes what do we do with them?  Do we decide to chuck it all because of unanswered questions we haven’t figured out, or do we stand firm in our faith?

Here’s a little story I heard years back. An earthquake struck a in a country that I’m sorry I don’t remember the name of. There was a school in a village where the students and teacher took refuge in the basement and were subsequently alive when the building collapsed. There was no way they could get out and all had given up hope anyone would reach them. Then a young boy stood up and said, “No! I know my father will not give up looking and will rescue us.” He made that statement out of faith. He didn’t know what was going on above them but he would not give up his faith in his dad. He also didn’t know the village had given up hope of finding anyone alive in the school, except the father. He went there and dug through the rubble an entire day, that night and the next day without stopping; until he reached the students. The first words out of his son’s mouth were, “I was scared, but I knew you would come.”

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the window which hope has opened.” Charles Spurgeon

“Faith isn’t believing without proof – it’s trusting without reservation.” William Sloane Coffin

This “Traveler of the Rock Road” has had his moments of doubt, just like so many others, but that has not stopped me from believing in my Lord and His love for me. I suppose I could credit it to all the studying I did, but a better and more truthful answer would be summed up in one word. Faith!

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

‘nuf said.

See you next time.

 

 


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