Andy Hollifield 4-15-18
Luke 7:19-22 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? (20) When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? (21) And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. (22) Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
One of the biggest hindrances to most folks doing the work of the Lord is doubt. Let me start with a real simple thought that just came to me; doubt is not bigger than grace, they both have 5 letters and the number 5 in the scripture always speaks of grace not doubt. That one is free just for starters but that isn’t my main point. The fact is that some of the greatest men in the bible doubted at one time or another. I want to look a just a few of them and I believe it will encourage you to know that you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last.
Of course I have already referenced the first one with the scripture listed above. John the Baptist, while shut up in prison, began to give in to doubt and discouragement. To begin with, let’s look back at his life for a minute. This is the same John who was a cousin to Jesus and leaped in the womb in the sixth month when Mary told his mother Elisabeth about the visit from the angel. It is the same John that announced Jesus as he came to Jordan to be baptized by John. It is the same John that on the day of his disciple’s trip to see Jesus, Jesus said about John, “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” This is the same John that later stood in front of King Herod and told him that it wasn’t lawful for him to have his brother Phillip’s wife and was later beheaded. This great man that had baptized untold numbers of people and was so great among his people that he had his own group of disciples. But on this day as he sat in prison, he was discouraged and doubting as never before. As great of a man as he was, he still had doubts.
It is a funny thing to me that after all that he had seen and knew firsthand, Thomas still had doubt. He is easily the most famous person in history for doubting because of his failure to be right there the first time Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection. He professed his doubts about Jesus being alive even though all of the disciples verified it. Eight days later, Jesus showed up again in the room with the doors being shut. After seeing Jesus, he believed. The thing to keep in mind is that Thomas had been with Jesus and seen the miracles and had went out when Jesus sent out the disciples and no doubt, also performed miracles. Now eight days later, he is consumed with doubt. He repented when Jesus appeared and told him to put his finger in the nailprints and put his hand in his side. After that day, there is no evidence that Thomas ever doubted again.
There is one more well known prophet that doubted God. That would be Elijah. I am talking about the same Elijah that was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. The same Elijah that prayed and pronounced droughts and prayed again and it rained. The same Elijah that slept under a Juniper tree and was fed by an angel and prior to that by ravens. After the greatest victory of his life, praying and God sending fire from heaven, and slaying 450 prophets of the false god Baal. Because the queen got mad because he had killed the prophets of her god, she sent out a threat to him. He went on the run and finally wound up in a cave. God sent an earthquake, a strong wind, and finally a still small voice to get Elijah out of hiding. Elijah went on to do other things after this event but can you guess why he was there? Doubt and fear. He was afraid that Jezebel would make good on her threats. He also doubted that there was anyone else that was still serving God. Elijah performed eight named miracles in his ministry and was a prophet to kings and peasants alike. After Elijah repented for his doubt, God had him to anoint two kings and also the prophet Elisha to take his place.
Just like these three men, we have all been prone to doubt at some time or another. When they have been where they have been and done all the things they had for the Lord, still they doubted. If they walked and talked with Jesus, except Elijah, and still had to battle doubts; we should know that we are subject to doubts just as they were. Let me assure you that you are not alone in your doubts. Preachers are often bad to doubt their calling or question God’s will in their lives right after they have preached a hard message . There is no one immune to it. All you can do other than pray is to look at the evidence. Think back on the times that God has sent assurance through sometimes even the smallest of things. Some of the times when he came through when you thought it was impossible. He is not pleased when we doubt him but he knows that we will. You are not the only one that ever has doubted and you probably will again. Don’t be too ashamed to confess it to God. He delighteth in mercy. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 4-15-18