Daily Devotion, August 18, 2020 - Doubt

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Today’s Devotion – August 18, 2020
Reading: Matthew 11:1-15
Weekly Theme: Who Do You Say I Am?
Today's Focus: Dealing with Doubt

As we go through life as Christians, we may periodically go through times of doubt when it comes to our faith and beliefs in God and in Jesus as God’s Son, and the Way. This doubt may be brought about by tragedy, by major transition, or by being introduced to new and different worldviews. I remember experiencing some significant doubts during my freshmen year in college. I was “on my own” and independent in some ways yet felt very vulnerable in my faith. I was being exposed to people from all over the world and many different ideologies and my faith was being challenged. Thank goodness for campus ministries and for good Christian people God placed in my life to keep me engaged in Bible studies and in conversations during this time of doubt.

Believe it or not, even John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way for Jesus to begin his ministry, had doubts. John had been imprisoned simply because Herod’s wife (and her daughter) had requested that him to be beheaded. John had been imprisoned for some time and as you might imagine was probably getting discouraged and needed reassurance that his ministry and preparation had not been in vain. He sent his disciples to talk with Jesus, to ask some questions and to hopefully gather reassurance that Jesus was indeed “the Way” for which John had spent his entire ministry preparing.

Jesus’ response to John is a model for us to follow when we are having doubt or when we are listening and advising someone who has doubt. Jesus reassured John by affirming him with ways that he (Jesus) has fulfilled prophesy (Isaiah 61). He then speaks to the greatness of John the Baptist with a gentle reminder that in God’s Kingdom the one who is least is greater than he. God’s kingdom is for the broken, to include the imprisoned, like John is during his final days on earth. Our response to God’s mercy and justice poured out on us is to demonstrate that same mercy and justice to those whom society has deemed to be “the least of us”. Jesus reassures John that he has been very instrumental in ushering in the kingdom of heaven that Jesus lived out during his time on earth and taught his disciples to live out as well. John was not a reincarnated Elijah but he took his role of boldly confronting sin, calling people into repentance and pointing people to God very seriously.

Are you having doubts about your faith during this time of violence and disruption in our world or do you know someone who is? Jesus’s message to John’s disciples and to us today is to stay grounded in the fulfilled and kept Word of God, encourage one another and to continue to keep our ears (and eyes and mind) open to hear (and see and know) the way Jesus is speaking to us today as we experience life and reason with fellow Christians, especially during times of doubt.

Dear God, thank you for John the Baptist who sacrificed greatly to prepare the way for your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us in our times of doubt to heed the advice of Jesus to look to Scripture and the fulfillment of God’s promises, to encourage and reassure one another and to keep our ears open to hear the way that your Holy Spirit is speaking to us today. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

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