From the beginning, John the Baptist’s mission seemed clear. His job was to call people to repent and point them to Jesus. At the beginning of his ministry we see him doing just that:
- “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.” (John 1:23)
- “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Matthew 3:14)
- He saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove upon Jesus and he heard a voice from heaven say, “This is my Son”. (Matthew 3:17)
- He told his own disciples that Jesus was the Lamb of God. (John 1:36)
- He said humbly, “he must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)
From these verses we can infer John clearly saw Jesus as the Messiah, the one who would redeem Israel. He was excited about Jesus’s ministry and wanted others to follow him. However, John’s vibrant ministry didn’t last long. His words and truth eventually upset Herod, who had him thrown into prison.
We don’t know from scripture how long he was in prison. It may have been months or years. But we do see John call out to Jesus from prison and ask a very surprising question. “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3)
What? Isn’t this the man who said he needed to be baptized by Jesus? Isn’t this the man who said Jesus was the Lamb of God? Didn’t he see the Spirit descend and hear the Father’s voice? And yet here he is, doubting. Doubting who Jesus is. Doubting Jesus as the Savior. Nothing Jesus had said or done changed his mind. We know from the gospels that Jesus had done many amazing miracles by this point in his ministry. It wasn’t Jesus who had changed; it wasn’t God’s call that had changed; the only thing that had changed was John’s circumstances.
Instead of preaching in the open air, he was rotting in prison. Instead of the freedom to move where he wished, and say what he liked, he was confined to his cell. Perhaps at that moment his life was not at all what he expected it to be. Undeniably, it was grueling, stressful. He did not see the results he longed to see. Life was hard.
Jesus could have sent a one-word reply to John. He could have said, “yes.” He could have said, “Yes, I am the Messiah; I am the one who was to come”, but he didn’t. God knew a simple, “Yes”, wouldn’t have given John the reassurance he needed. So he instead instructed John’s disciples to report what they saw and heard: the blind seeing, the lame walking, the sick cured, the deaf hearing, the dead raised, and the good news preached to the poor.
The beginning of the school year may have been a very exciting time for you. You heard God’s call to homeschool. You were enthusiastic about the curriculum you would be using, thrilled about the support groups you could connect with, hopeful about the wonderful opportunities God had in store for you and your children. Your mission seemed clear and God’s call was undeniable. You knew God wanted you to homeschool your children.
But now, now you are not so sure. You never understood teaching could be so difficult. You never fathomed you would be constantly struggling with patience. You never realized how often your kids would be bickering, how challenging it would be to manage your time, and you never anticipated just how TIRED you would become of homeschooling every day. Perhaps you’ve even begun to question, “Lord, did you really call me to homeschool or should I be doing something else?”
Child of God, did God’s call change, or did your circumstances? Perhaps, like John, at this moment your life is not what you expected it to be. Undeniably, it is grueling, stressful. Maybe you don’t see the results you long to see. You’re beginning to doubt God’s call, not because God’s will for you has changed, but because life is hard.
Jesus could send a one word reply to you. He could say, “Yes, I want you to homeschool,” or as with John, He may want you to examine more closely what you see and hear. Overall are your children happy? Are they safe? Are they learning? Are you spending more time together as a family? Do you see them growing in their faith? Are you growing in yours? Has God blessed you with new wonderful friendships this year? Has he provided you with the resources, classes, and activities you’ve needed to make homeschooling work?
May God’s reassurance envelop you and carry you through this rough time as you remember all the good He has brought about in your life this year.
Don’t be a doubter anymore.
Copyright January 20th, 2015 by Gwen Fredette