In Luke 7, John the Baptist was in a Roman prison. When he heard about the miracles Jesus was performing, he asked a question that really meant, “Lord, if You can’t get me out of this prison, then what good are You?” Notice how Jesus responded to him: “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them” (v. 22). Jesus wanted John to know about His miracles. Then He added this reminder: “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me” (v. 23). Jesus was saying very gently, “John, you will be a lot happier with Me if you don’t take offense because I am not performing exactly the way you think I should.”
What impresses me about this exchange is the way Jesus dealt with John the Baptist. He didn’t blast him away: “You unbelieving infidel, how could you doubt Me after you have seen so much?” Instead, Jesus dealt gently with John’s doubt. And He does the same with you and with me.
You see, there is a big difference between doubt and unbelief. Doubt in and of itself is neither good nor bad, depending on where it leads you. If doubt leads you to a deeper belief after questioning your faith and examining the evidence, then doubt is a good thing. But if doubt leads you to turn away from God, then it is an evil thing.
By the way, parents, please remember that truth. More than likely there will come a time when your child during his or her teenage years is going to say, “You know, I grew up hearing all this stuff and thought I believed it, but I’m not sure I believe in Christianity any longer.” Don’t hit the panic button when that happens. Don’t think everything is lost. Questioning is a normal part of teenage and young-adult passage as your children move from embracing your faith to embracing their own faith. There is nothing wrong about questioning. When they question, you can say, “You know what? I have gone through those same doubts myself, and here is how I resolved them.” You can point them to helpful resources to help them in their questioning. Understand that doubt is a normal process. It was for John the Baptist, and it will be for you and most people as well.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “For Those Who Doubt” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.