Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
The sermon from last Sunday, based on Ps. 23, highlighted how God refreshes and restores our soul (vs. 3). Sometimes we may have a weariness in our soul, perhaps because of heartache, disappointment, or having to bear a number of heavy burdens simultaneously. During such times, our soul may feel parched and needs refreshment. Another factor that can drain our soul is doubt – doubting God, His existence, His love, His faithfulness, His concern, etc. Such doubt can arise for a number of reasons. We may be going through a time of difficult trials, and we wonder why God has allowed this. We may have a long list of unanswered prayers. Perhaps some friends have presented us with substantial challenges to religious faith and the existence of God. Maybe we are simply going through a time when we do not sense the presence of God.
Doubting is a common experience, and we find examples of it in the Bible. One has to do with John the Baptist. John had some amazing encounters with Jesus. He was the one sent to prepare the way of the Messiah (Jn. 1:23) and even baptized Jesus, at which point the Spirit of God came upon Jesus as a dove descending (which John saw), and the voice of the Father proclaimed that Jesus was the Son He loved (Mt. 3:13-17; Jn. 1:32). Once when John saw Jesus, he declared to those with him, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).
Yet later John had his doubts. After he was thrown in prison, John sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask him (Lk. 7:18-19), “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” If Jesus really was the promised Messiah, John probably wondered why he would now be in prison.
The response of Jesus to John’s disciples is instructive for us. Jesus said (Lk. 7 22-23), “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Jesus was not only speaking of what He had done; he was actually paraphrasing the Messianic prophecy found in Is. 61:1-2. In other words, to answer John’s doubts, Jesus encouraged him to consider the Word of God.
One of the ways that God refreshes our soul and strengthens our faith in times of doubt is through His Word. His Word is true, revealing to us the reality of God, the character of God, the acts of God in history, His care for us, and His promise to be with us always. As we reflect on God’s Word with open hearts and minds, our doubts are answered and our souls are refreshed!
Grace and peace,