God had revealed to John his mission to preach repentance. In fact, when he was born, his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “…And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins…” (Luke 1:67-79). Those prophetic words were realized when John came preaching in the wilderness of Judea and stated, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11-12).
Jesus came to the River Jordan to be baptized by John, so that scripture would be fulfilled. When Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and rested on Jesus. Then John heard a voice from heaven, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:15-17). That miraculous event should have forever sealed and secured John’s faith in Jesus as Redeemer and Savior.
Fast-forward to John as he sat in a cold, dark, and damp prison cell and questioned if he had rightly believed that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. Had he been mistaken? Had he sacrificed all for nothing? He faced death and needed to have his doubts alleviated by the One in Whom he had believed and trusted. So when he received word about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Luke 7:19) Had John forgotten the words of the prophets and what had transpired the day he baptized Jesus? John had sent word to Jesus, the incarnation of God’s Word, and without recrimination, Jesus returned His Word to John so that his faith would be strengthened.
If John the Baptist, “the prophet of the Most High,” had doubts, then we shouldn’t berate ourselves when doubts besiege us? We are vulnerable human vessels that can succumb to doubts, fears, and unbelief in an unguarded moment or during the most trying of circumstances. That is why God’s Word tells us not to be anxious about anything, but in every situation with thanksgiving, prayer, and petition, we are to present our requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-8 NIV). This truth demands repeating: God’s peace, that surpasses our understanding, will guard our hearts and minds, if we remain steadfast in placing our requests before Him with continual prayer, petition, and thanksgiving.
Has God made a promise to you, and you have not seen the first sign of it coming to pass? Is doubt creeping in and pushing out the promise? Do you have a prayer that is yet to be answered? Have you questioned whether you really heard from God? Have you appeared foolish to others for obeying God’s instructions and believing for the impossible? Are you questioning that God’s promises might have applied only for biblical times and not for today?
When those doubts and negative thoughts question God’s goodness and His promises, then it is time to accelerate our praying and our reading of scripture. For “Every Word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him (Proverbs 20:5-6). For the Word of God is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword; it penetrates, even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The Word reveals God’s heart, His love for us, and truths that the world dismisses. His Word encourages, convicts, corrects, instructs, strengthens, redirects, reassures, comforts, and gives hope, faith, and wisdom.
Therefore, we are told to read and speak the Word as Jesus spoke the Word. “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). We have been given that same authority, for Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will [you] do, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12 ESV).
The Centurion understood authority and the power of God’s Word, when he said, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but speak the Word only, and my servant will be healed.” His servant was healed at that very moment (Matthew 8:8 NKJV). There is power and authority in God’s Word, but we must believe it and speak it.
I have seen the wisdom of God’s timing of events in my life and the lives of others. So, when doubt comes knocking at the door of your heart, know that His delays are not His denials. He has proven over and over again that His ways, purposes, and thoughts are above and beyond human understanding. Faith patiently waits and trusts in God’s plan, the means by which He delivers His plan to us, and His timing. Our task while waiting is to rejoice always, trust, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus (I Thessalonians 5:16).
The enemy is a master manipulator. If he can convince us that all that we have believed has been in vain, then he has us in that valley of despair and unbelief, where hope is deferred or lost. Remember, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith believes before it sees. Jesus said that those who believe His promises, without first seeing proof, will be the ones who receive His promises. For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, meaning “so be it” to the glory of God through us (II Corinthians: 1:20-21 NKJV). Therefore, let not our hearts be troubled, but believe the LORD who is faithful and whose promises are Yes and Amen.
LORD, the man in Mark 9:20-27 brought his boy to Jesus to be healed. When Jesus questioned the father’s ability to believe, he responded, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” LORD, I believe that You can do all things, but I confess that there are times when I doubt that You will meet my need. Help my unbelief. Help me to study and memorize Your Word so that its truths are inscribed upon my heart and I am able to say with certainty, “I believe and trust You to meet my every need.” In Jesus name, amen.