Even the doubting
John the baptist; a devoted and passionate man, wild for God. He was spoken of by the prophets, called by God and filled with the Holy Spirit. And he knew it. He proclaimed the truth, confidence ringing in his voice as he saw Jesus, saying, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
God Himself even gave John a personal message, a foretelling, of how this Jesus, this Christ would be recognized. "And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God." And His heart was submitted to Jesus, willing to give Him His rightful place in ministry and the plan of God, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Conviction, revelation, submission ... and doubt.
After his proclaimation, given revelation, signs that he had seen, John had questions about Jesus. From the dim, glum, and non-inspiring pit of prison, John sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" Are you the One?
Elijah, fiery prophet, destroyer of wickedness, man of powerful signs. He stood up to the wicked prophets of Baal and Ashera, 850 of them; prophets who ate at the table Jezebel, a ruling queen and awful woman. He challenged the false god of Baal to a duel with the one true God of Israel. A battle by fire. The Lord God won, Baal lost, and the prophets of Baal were slaughtered.
What boldness, what confidence in his God. Elijah was charged and ready to go, even to the point of being able to outrun horses!
But then that queen, that awful woman Jezebel, spoke a single threat to him and he ran like a frightened child being chased by an angry goose. “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them [the prophets slaughtered].” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.
Afraid? Running from the battle? What happened?
And Peter. How some of us like to poke fun at his impetous nature. Passionate Peter. What an example of a man, an imperfect man, following after Jesus. Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And then three crows later Peter runs away shamed with regret after denying his Lord three times.
John, Elijah, Peter. You?
How would the Lord respond to such as these?
To John, He responded with words to comfort his doubt. "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." Words of reassurance, not of condemnation.
To Elijah, a man with a nature like ours, the Lord answers his prayers. The Lord continues to call Elijah to task, regardless of his fears. God is compassionate in His response to our weakness.
And to Peter, restoration, a renewed calling, and the promise of transformation.
God calls us, with our dusty frames, to great things. There are mountains and there are valleys, but in the end, it is He who is our God. You can rest in that.