JULY 26, 2012
PAST THE DOUBT
John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one
who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Luke 7:18-19, NIV)
Here’s the worst thing that can happen to you standing over a three-foot putt: doubt.
Sure, the players on tour can camp there until they eradicate every uncertain thought from their heads. They can wait
to “pull the trigger” until after all the negative mental images go away. But don’t dare try that on a crowded Saturday morning at the local muni! They’ll shout you off the
course! Sooner, not later, you’re going to have to take that putter back, confident or not.
Doubt, too, has been given every bad name among Christians. Chiefly, we might guess, this derives from James 1:6:
“But when [any of you asks God for wisdom], you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave on the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to
receive anything from the Lord.”
But what, then, are we to make of John the Baptist? Faced with the cold reality of a jail cell and unsure
just what Jesus was up to “out there,” John faced a crisis of confidence. He wasn’t sure what he really knew anymore.
Now remember, John had every advantage. Almost certainly, he was told throughout his childhood the stories of his birth
and prophesied life. He was told likewise of his cousin Jesus’ pre-revealed role, and of John’s connection to it. In fact, he knew those prophecies so well that John declared himself unworthy
even to tie Jesus’ sandals. Then John had stood in the Jordan alongside Jesus when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus and the Father’s voice from heaven confirmed just who Jesus was: the
Anointed One. What was there to doubt?
What was to doubt was his own perspective, his own interpretation. Maybe, like all mortal men, John had missed
something. Maybe it was not just this dark cell that was making him blind; maybe he had been blind all along.
Jesus was gentle with the messengers John sent, those the Baptist had dispatched to gain even a sliver of affirmation
by which he could go on breathing. “Just tell him what you’ve seen,” Jesus said. “All these miracles. Tell him what you’ve heard: all these words of good news.”
Frankly, it wasn’t much more than a sliver. Jesus went for Lazarus; he did not go for John. John
was left to live on only a wee bit of knowledge. Some days that’s all we get, just a wisp of God’s air. But it is still God’s air. If
we can remember that much, we will be able to keep on breathing, keep on praying, keep on hoping.
July 26, 2012
Copyright 2012 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.