By Ralph and
Despair fills the prison cell at the bottom floor of the palace. It has almost been a year since a ray of sunshine beamed upon his face. The victories of the past and glorious memories of a righteous life have seemed to fade. His loyalty to God has led to an unexpected place of darkness and suffering. This man even begins to question his own faith as hope retreats from the gloomy dungeon. The iron bars that confine him have become the new reality and it is difficult to see beyond them. In a moment of weakness, John the Baptist has found himself with a major case of discouragement.
This description is confirmed in Matthew 11:3-5: “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Who would have thought that such a strong man of faith would have made this statement? Jesus had a high opinion of him and said that you would not find a greater man. He baptized Jesus, prepared the way of the Lord, and was used to change the hearts of many people. Still, he was flesh and had moments of weakness. If he became discouraged, we most certainly will multiple times during our lifetime. It doesn’t mean that we lack faith or are not a Christian, but just human. God definitely understands and has a word for every one of us that fits our unique situations.
John’s experience can help us when our circumstances are undesirable. He was unable to see past the prison bars and understand what God was doing. Similarly, we can have the same problem when things go wrong. All we see is our difficulties, obstacles, negative circumstances and do not get the entire picture. Jesus sent John the Baptist a word that the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. In other words, God was moving outside of his prison in a way that John could not see. There was a reason for his circumstances and great results followed. God knows what he is doing and has our best interest in mind.
It is important that we look beyond our situation and realize that the Lord is at work. Jesus does not always move the way we want or answer our prayers how we expect. Since he is omniscient, the end result will be best. John the Baptist became a hero of the faith and played a major role in the advancement of God’s Kingdom. We can trust the Lord because he is a loving Father and has a wonderful plan for our lives. The best way to fight discouragement is with the Word of God and applying his promises. Scripture reminds us in Roman 8:26: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
(Ralph & Elizabeth Pyszkowski, Your Brother & Sister In Christ. All comments are welcomed at [email protected])