Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Personal Prisons

This past Sunday we studied about John the Baptist's imprisonment.  I've read this passage so many times and had completely failed to grasp what Matthew 11 was about!  John had prophecied about Jesus, baptized him, witnessed the dove descending on Jesus and heard God the Father say "This is my beloved son...." He had some seriously upclose and personal experiences with Jesus. I think we could safely assume that John the Baptist was confident that Jesus was God in the flesh. Fast forward some chapters and we see John now in prison.  And John isn't a vision of faith here! He is now questioning whether Jesus is really the "Coming One". I think John's crisis of faith had two parts. One, what he had preached about the Messiah was not what Jesus seemed to be doing. John had preached judgement and Jesus was healing! John the Baptist had put Jesus in a box so to speak. His idea of Jesus wasn't turning out to be the way he thought it would be! Two, John the Baptist seemed to be having a faith problem. I have to wonder if he thought as he was hearing the reports coming in of people being healed,  "if Jesus is really God then why in the world is he not getting me out of this prison!" Surely John wanted to be apart of Jesus' ministry, visually witnessing what He was doing; watching the lame walk, the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the lepers being cleansed.  John knew that people were celebrating all the good Jesus was doing and he was missing out.  I love what John did in the midst of his crisis - he called out to Jesus. And Jesus sent disciples back with an answer that was just what John needed to hear. God allowed John the Baptist to be in that prison the strengthen his faith; to make him sure of what he knew.

Are you in a prison today? I'm in one right now and it is dark, dank, difficult. It is lonely, scary, seemingly neverending. It is testing my faith and trust in God's love for me. It is pushing me to the end of me. There is no one with me in this prison cell. Just me and my experiences with God. I am hoping, asking Jesus to break me free and yet He leaves me here!! And I see His mighty hand working diligently in the lives of the people around me and I want to be apart of it!! But I can't.

Last night in my utter brokeness I cried out to God.  I told Him everything that my brain could make into words. And this morning God sent a messenger back to me with a word to read Psalm 77. It was just what I needed to hear. I find it interesting that God didn't put this passage on my heart, but instead he used my husband as His messenger... just like John.  And that comforted my heart and confirmed in my heart that God is 100% aware of my prison. He knows how long I will be in it and the purposes for which He will accomplish from it.  He has a set-in-stone-before-the-creation-of-the-world plan to use this prison to refine my heart and make me more like Jesus.

So precious friends, if and when you find yourself suddenly in a prison, don't fret.  Call out to Jesus. And rest knowing that He has you where He has you on purpose. And even if the walls of your personal prison prevent you from seeing and hearing Jesus, know that He is there. Seek Him to know how you can become more like Him in the midst of the prison. Stay teachable and humble. And rejoice in the midst of your trial. God never leaves us or forsakes us.


Mariel said...

this is a good insight, my friend. I am praying for you and am here for you if you need to talk. some of God's best revelations and insights come during our seasons of greatest storms, trials and prisons!! missing you in NC!!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Powerful word of witness, and yes, I do understand what it is to be chained to prison walls, all the while wondering if I've "gotten it right" where Jesus is concerned. Like John, I've cried out for his continuing confirmation. Like God, he always responds.

Oh for the faith to cry out our questions to our Father; that is, in itself, a deliberate act of faith.

Keep to it, sister.