The Trial of Our Faith
By David J. Stewart
Matthew 11:2-3, “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”
John the Baptist was put into prison for preaching against Herod's adultery (Matthew 14:3,4). John was discouraged as so often we are in life. But there's something remarkable found in these Scriptures that I think needs to be mentioned. John became even more discouraged when He heard about the works of Christ. That is very interesting. Why did hearing about the works of Christ cause John to become so discouraged? It's because it wasn't helping John in his darkest hour.
So often when everything is going wrong in life, and tribulation and turmoil are upon us, and disappointments come, and loved ones depart, and we lose everything, we become embittered toward God when we read the Scriptures. Why? It's because all the miracles and works of Christ that we read about aren't making our situation any better. I've been there and I know you have too. John the Baptist was there, and he was so discouraged that he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He were really the Christ. John was upset that he was rotting in prison and Jesus, the One Whom John had dedicated his entire life to serving, wasn't helping John. In fact, John ended up being executed in prison. Help never arrived. Deliverance never came. John's situation went from bad to worse. Poor John!
There are going to be times in our life when God doesn't answer our prayers, and things just get worse and worse, like it did for John the Baptist. We need not become angry and frustrated when we read about the great works of God throughout history. What we need to do is trust the HEART of God, even though we cannot see the HAND of God working in our life. It is a matter of faith. We read in Acts 12 that Peter was delivered from prison and his life was spared; but James was beheaded by Herod for his faith. It is God's decision who, where and when He intercedes, to save a life or allow one's death within His permissive will. Our place is to trust upon the Lord, and not ask "why."
Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest born among women in Matthew 11:11, yet said that he that is LEAST in the Kingdom of God is greater than John. There won't be any losers in Heaven. Amen! If John the Baptist, whom Jesus said was the greatest man who ever lived, became utterly discouraged because the works of Christ didn't seem to be happening in his own personal life, then who are we to get all upset and place God on trial? We are living in a wayward and misguided generation, where churchgoers have been deceived into believing that God always gives us what we want if we give money to religion. That philosophy is of the Devil. There is no guarantee from God that you will receive health, wealth and prosperity in this world, no matter what you do. The Bible teaches that God has chosen THE POOR of this world rich in faith (James 2:5). Mark 10:23, "And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!"
Oh, listen my friend, you just keep trusting God. It matters not if you're rich or poor, the God of the Bible is still on His throne. It matters not if you're healthy or sick, Jesus Christ is still King of kings and Lord of lords. You just hang in there! The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is still alive! Did you ever stop to read about the lives of those mighty patriarchs of the faith in the book of Genesis? Those men went through some extremely difficult times of hardship. Poor Jacob was heartbroken when his beloved wife, Rachel, died on the delivery table giving birth to Benjamin. Jacob could have blamed God and became bitter, but he didn't. It's easy for us to think, with all of the religious talk nowadays about "giving to get" from God, that the Christian life is not supposed to have any major problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being a born-again Christian doesn't shield us from the hardships of life, it just gives us the blessed peace and hope of knowing that our names are written in Heaven (Luke 10:20), and that there is a home in Heaven awaiting us, which is being prepared by the Lord Himself (John 14:1-3). Amen!
So let us keep this temporal, earthly life in proper perspective. Life is filled with problems. The Bible tells us not to be anxious about anything, but to bring everything to the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6). That is all we can do. We must trust upon the Lord, that in His power and wisdom He will work in any given situation, whether in such a manner that we can see the HAND of God at work, or in the precious mysterious manner in which God often works where we are required to trust upon the great HEART of God.
The Sevenfold Sin of Those Who Do Not Win Souls (video by Dr. John R. Rice)
"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8
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