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God Goes Invisible When We Need Him The Most

Reading Time: 4 minutes What to do when God doesn’t show up?

John the Baptist is without a doubt one of the greatest to have ever lived. Jesus himself said:

“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11)

Surely Jesus is very keen of John the Baptizer. In one occasion the Lord himself submitted under the hands of this man to be baptized, and the Bible tells us that John was the trailblazer, preparing the way for Jesus’ ministry – the greatest ministry to ever exist.

Greatness will always find its own opposition, and John the Baptizer found it from the highest government officials of those days. As a result, they put him in prison.

When John was put in prison, it dawned on him that now he was the one to be baptized… baptized into the waters of darkness, loneliness, and despair.

It is here where you can see the fire of John diminish. The wild-ness of his character become tamed. And the unmovable boldness of his message become shaken and doubtful.

Yes, doubt found its way into the inner chamber of his thoughts.

From prison, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus:

“Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

John, you baptized the Messiah! You saw the dove descent on him, you heard the voice of the almighty putting his stamp of approval on Jesus. You said, “behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” When Jesus asked you to baptize him, you said, “I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?” You found it an honor to baptize the saviour of the world. You know this is the one who was to come, the prophesied Messiah. Why are you asking this question?

Well, it would seem to me that based on this question, even the greatest succumb to the stings of suffering.

A prison of any kind has been known to liberate your doubts while keeping you detained.

John realized that if Jesus was the true Messiah, surely he would take notice of John being imprisoned. How could the Christ not help his friend? How could the Christ not rescue the greatest man that had ever lived? The preparer of the way. The prophet. The second Elijah. Not to mention that he was also a close friend.

Jesus is healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, helping the lame to walk, the lepers are cleansed, the mute can speak, the deaf are hearing, the dead are rising, and the good news are being preached to the poor, but he is not saving his friend from prison? The one who prepared the way for the very message that is saving people is now in need of salvation, yet Jesus doesn’t liberate him.

What do you do when God doesn’t show up?

Well, I will tell you what Jesus told John.

Jesus tells John the Baptist’ disciples to tell John in prison the following:

“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk…”

And then he adds,

“And blessed is he who does not take offense at me.”

In other words, “Report to John that I am the Messiah” and then he adds this “But please make sure to tell him, blessed is anyone who does not take offense at me.”

Why would Jesus add this? If he is not going to save him from prison, why add this last part?

You see, when things don’t go our way, we must not take offense at Christ, for he is sovereign.

We may be missionaries of the greatest message of all, and proclaiming the saving work of Christ to those who’s life is in bondage, but when we ourselves experience issues, pain, persecution, and even incarceration, and yet God doesn’t liberate us, let us remember that,

“blessed is he who does not take offense at me.”

Memorize this. Take it to heart. Let it take root into your heart.

“blessed is he who does not take offense at me.”

Many people take offense at Christ when he doesn’t meet their expectations. They leave the faith. They fall to the side.

But why expect God to meet every single one of our expectations? Is he supposed to accommodate to us? Is God not enough for us? Salvation from prisons, persecutions, setbacks, pain, and suffering is not comparable to God himself. Is God not good enough for us anymore?

Memorize it.

“blessed is he who does not take offense at me.”

Notice what it says:

“Blessed”

Jesus previously gave us a three-chapter long sermon that started with the beatitudes, which is a description of the righteous life.

Every beatitude starts with, “blessed”.

But here is another beatitude, “blessed… is he who does not take offense at Me.” (emphasis mine).

Blessed are you when you suffer well, and don’t take offense at Christ for things not going your way.

Are you looking for practical ways to cope with this reality?

I find it hard to come up with some. But I can tell you what John the Baptist did. He remained faithful to his call, even in prison.

Three chapters after hearing Jesus’ beatitude. John the Baptist dies. But before they put him to death, the Bible shows us that John kept on telling Herod that what he was doing (trying to sleep with his brother’s wife), was wrong.

There is not much we know, but we know this for sure. John, kept on preaching the message of repentance. This was the message he had been preaching all along not caring if it was a message of repentance to the king or to the peasant. He preached.

John was faithful to his call. He was probably still confused, he was probably still doubtful, but at the same time, he was still faithful.

May the perseverance that John the baptist expressed be a testimony for all of us in moments of doubt, and distress. May we continue to remain in the ways of the Lord simply because He is, and not because of what he has done or hasn’t done yet.

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1 year ago

[…] far one of my favorite books of all time. This specific blog post was massively inspired by this book. It’s the story of John the Baptist, specifically being in […]