At some time in your life just as many of us, you have been disappointed. You’ve been misled, deceived, purposely or unconsciously. Many people have stood in disbelief at the remains of discarded promises that were made but never kept some to self some by others. We have all experienced broken promises, broken and even shattered dreams. Whether you were a kid, a young adult, during mid-life, or even in the later years of your life, we all have experienced shattered dreams. It may be the heartbreak of a divorce, perhaps your parents divorced when you were a child leaving your world devastated. For some, it may be the loss of a job or a home, or maybe failing health has been the cause of your dreams not coming to fruition.
It seems like all too often life doesn’t happen the way that we have imagined it. We have pictures in our mind about just what our life is supposed to look like, who we’re going to be, where we’re going to live, what our family will look like, how our career will blossom. Then suddenly things reel out of control. The road is filled with swift twists and turns in the journey of life causing us to feel violated, robbed of our life and it can be very painful. Most of the time, we don’t want to face our shattered dreams or even know what to do with them, much less know how to grow from them, our faith may even become shattered along with our dreams.
Have you ever felt this way? You may even begin to wonder where God is in the midst of your suffering. Thinking doesn’t God realize you’re suffering and you just can’t sense his presence. You feel alone and afraid as your faith wavers. You begin to wonder and question everything including yourself and the things you believe. You may even wonder what reality truly is, especially when your experiences don’t line up with your expectations.
John the Baptist most certainly understood this plight when he was waiting in prison. Due to the unexpected circumstances, he found himself in after meeting Jesus face to face and declaring in John 1:29 “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” After he baptized Jesus and saw God’s Spirit descend on him, testifying that he indeed was the Son of God. Yet in Matthew 11:2-3 John would send word to Jesus from prison asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Prior to this John was positive that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus further confirmed his divinity by performing miracles, yet now John was wondering if it were true.
John knew with the miracles that Jesus could and would perform He could surely open “the prison to those who are bound” as prophesied in Isaiah 61:1. But Jesus didn’t do that for John. So, what was John thinking at this point as he was left sitting, suffering in prison? Certainly, he wasn’t expecting this outcome not after crying in the wilderness and preparing the way of the Messiah, only to end his life and his ministry in a tiny prison cell.
Certainly, whatever John may have thought, whatever he may have expected did not coincide with reality. His expectations verse his reality may have caused John to doubt. Unfulfilled expectations will often elicit that response in most people. But although John has questions and has begun to show signs of doubt, Jesus doesn’t condemn John for his doubts. He even says that no one greater than John has ever lived. He understands why John is asking the question. And Jesus’s response to him reinforces what John already knows: that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.
John’s doubts are the same as yours, is God who he says he is. When doubt creeps in and rears its ugly head God calls you, as he did John, to trust what you know to be true. Although the plans are different than what you envisioned. Know that God is completely sovereign, loving, and wise. Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from his will. You may never see or understand how God is using the trials you find yourself in. But you can trust that He who died on a cross so you could spend eternity with Him, is going to do the very best for you always.
Will you trust your circumstances that constantly change? Or will you trust a Savior who is unchanging? – Hebrews 13:8