My daughter, Josie has such a tender heart. She is very sensitive to spiritual things and very wise at her young age of seven. Like all kids, she has lots of questions. If you've spent any time with her you know she is a talker, a wonderer, and a thinker. The other day she said, "Mom, the Bible says Jesus is coming back, why is He taking so long?"
Even the seven year old is longing for Jesus. She sees the hurt and pain in this world and knows He is the only answer. Her question reminded me of one John the Baptist asked in Matthew 11, "Shall we look for another?" He had been jailed for his unrelenting preaching of the Gospel. Wildman John was not about to be politically correct before any leader or politician. He called things as he saw them and had no trouble correcting a leader who practiced adultery and incest. He called people out publicly and for that, he was jailed and eventually beheaded. John was carrying out God's mission: to pave the way for the Messiah and call people to their need for salvation so why weren't things working out? This faith thing didn't seem to yield great results.
John the Baptist sat in a dark, dank dungeon awaiting execution. He wondered if Jesus would spring him soon. I imagine when he heard some footsteps coming quickly and closer he anticipated seeing the Son of God. I imagine the disappointment when he was met with the faces of the disciples, instead. They brought a message from Jesus. Jesus said, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Can you hear the silence that must have hung in the air after that? That's it? There was no escape plan? And then John is told not to be offended by this? What a letdown, disappointment and total bummer. This might have felt like betrayal. Betrayal by a Savior? I would guess this placed more questions in John's mind and not less. Wouldn't a kind, loving Savior be quick to help a brother out?
I think we all have a little bit of John and a little bit of Josie in us. At some point, we wrestle with either, "Is He the real deal?" or "Why is He taking so long?" Doubt plagues us all when our back is up against the wall - from fiery evangelists to thoughtful theologians. Seekers and long time believers sometimes find themselves in the same boat. While Jesus didn't free John in this world, He promised him blessing even in his questioning. John was surely ushered into heaven the moment his head was placed on the platter. It's hard to come to grips with the fact that we might not get our healing, our relief or our release from whatever imprisons us. My husband suffers with chronic pain and one day, he calmly and confidently said to me, "Honey, I have come to know that I may not be healed here, but I know I will be healed in heaven." What faith!
Jesus never corrected or condemned John's questioning, He kindly said, "Don't be offended by all this - I've got a blessing coming for you." If you find yourself questioning today because of circumstances - financial stress, chronic illness or injustice, it's ok to question. The Maker of the Heavens and the Earth can take it, He's not a wimp. Pose your questions directly to Christ, Himself. He was faithful to answer John, He will answer you.