Faith and Doubt Inside the Four Walls
Scripture reference: Matthew 11:2-5
This one was mine. While I didn’t look ahead in the book and say, “I want this day”…when I read it, I knew it was laid out as mine for this “time”. Has the Lord ever just laid something out for you to read? Have you ever opened the Bible randomly and have your eyes fall on a passage of scripture that seemed penned just for your…for your circumstances? Has He ever painted you a picture in the sky and then whispered in your heart…”look up my child”?
Well, I am not sure what my personality “name” is…but I am a cloud watcher. I am a star gazer. I am a hopeful. But in all the cloud watching and star gazing…when life hits me in the face…doubt has come in at times. A hard issue to deal with.
Pardon me today…I may do a little wandering back a few months….to when my faith was sorely tested.
However, before the wandering begins, let me read you this passage from the Message. I will begin with verse 1. “When Jesus finished placing this charge before his twelve disciples, he went on to teach and preach in their villages. John, meanwhile, had been locked up in prison. When he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?” Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on: The blind see, the lame walk, Lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.”
I really wanted to read on…but Aimee will take that tomorrow.
Let’s get back to John’s predicament. He’s in a fine mess. Surrounded.
I can hear a whole message in Beth’s words, “Four walls closing in surely must limit your vision.”
Here was John, the wild man preacher who had roamed freely preaching to anyone with ears to listen, now surrounded by four walls with no glimpse of a future. The picture that rushes to my mind is a long-haired man standing out in the middle of nowhere yelling all the words from the prophets he had learned at his mothers knee of the Messiah. The One that he was related to…The description for John the Baptist comes from Mark 1:8 .
John had a job to do, and he didn’t know how long he’d have to do it…he was all about the Message and the Man and there was no room for himself. Then his time was up. Instead of being surrounded by listeners…he found himself in chains and surrounded by walls.
Beth talks about “head doubt and heart doubt”. I’ve had some. This is where I will be wandering around a bit. I went back to February 10th of this year. My prison. Aimee’s prison. Wanda’s prison. The four walls of a hospital room. I am only speaking for myself here…Aimee may not have had the feelings I had. My heart KNEW that God was a healing God. I knew that God could very easily heal Wanda. I knew the verse by heart. By His stripes we are healed. (“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Peter 2:24)
We had grown up hearing it…had experienced healing ourselves—we just KNEW. But we also believe that God has a reason and purpose in everything in our lives as we live according to His plan and will. We wanted His will. Not our own. We wanted our sister alive and whole—but we couldn’t pray against what God’s plan might be. That’s where the doubt crept in. The limited vision.
The enemy of our souls does NOT take a vacation when you are facing the hardest thing in your life. He feels no pity for your circumstances. But you know….as we clung to the garment of Christ for our help—He bathed us in His grace and mercy and the enemy’s plans were thwarted. Because we were clinging to Christ. With all the strength we could muster up. Although we couldn’t see—didn’t know—what God was about—He was about to either heal her or take her. This much we knew. Both by heart and in our heads. While we really wanted her healed…we wanted God’s will in her life more. Not our will Lord, but Thine.
That may be where John was. He knew that God was about to release Him one way or another. Either by freedom from his chains and walls….or freedom through his chains and walls.
Where are you today? Are you at a place where the problem seems bigger than the answer? Well, I can assure, the Answer is bigger. The answer is Christ.
Seeing and believing is one thing. But knowing and believing without ever seeing, is FAITH—even inside the four walls.
Father in heaven, there are some tough days ahead. We hear it everywhere we turn. Faith may be shakey for some today Lord. Renew our faith. Strengthen our walk through Your word. Help us to encourage others and stoke their flames of faith, instead of prodding the embers of doubt. We believe and trust completely in You. We thank you for taking our lives and creating useable vessels in each of us. Pour in us so that we may pour out on others—Your Holy Spirit. Go with each heart and life gathered here today. May we be ever watchful! In Jesus name we pray~Amen.
Keeping the faith,