Dark Places Stir Up Questions

Message:  In Matthew 11 John the Baptist heard from prison what was going on so he sent disciples to Jesus to ask if he was the promised one or whether they should be expecting someone else. John was the one who boldly prepared the way for Jesus and he had even witnessed the dove descending upon him and the voice of God approving him so it seems odd that John would have this question. Then I realized that John was in a dark place. He had completed his mission but now he was unfairly sitting in prison waiting for his execution. A place like this causes room for all kinds of questions and doubt. What really stood out to me here is that Jesus didn’t just say, “yeah, I’m the one.” He pointed to the fulfilled prophecy and instructed the disciples to tell John what they see happening “The blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor are told the good news.” But then he said one last thing. “If anyone is not offended because of Me, he is blessed.” It seems he understood the place John was in. The questions he had and the darkness and isolation he felt. Jesus had a vibrant ministry going on at the time but he was well on the way toward his own dark place as he anticipated the suffering he would have to endure on the cross. Jesus spoke highly of John after the disciples left. John wasn’t being punished. He was suffering the price of his calling. Sometimes we feel like we’re forgotten in a dark place of suffering. Like John, we have questions even though we have experienced a very real encounter with God. The first thing we are tempted to do is assume God is punishing us. While we often are suffering consequences for poor decisions, we were also called to suffer with Christ because we also have the privilege of being glorified with Christ. When we find ourselves in the dark places we need to remind ourselves of the things we have seen God doing all around us. If we choose not to become offended and bitter when we are in the dark places we will receive the blessing on the other side of it all. God isn’t punishing us. Pain is part of our journey and if we allow the pain to work a process in us God will never allow it to go to waste!

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