Friday, October 25, 2013

Just like John

This...this spoke to me. This is what I have struggled with...being offended with God, just like John; wondering, wrestling, doubting.

Blessed are the unoffended (When God hurts our feelings).

He was His cousin.
He had taught about Jesus. Prepared the way for Him.
He had even baptized Him.
And yet, there John sat. Rotting in a prison.
Wrestling with doubt and questions, he sent word to Jesus, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3) Certainly, he knew Jesus was the Coming One. But surrounded by the dank walls of a prison cell, his heart began to doubt. And can you blame him for doubting? For questioning why he was sitting in there while Jesus and all of the other disciples were out and about doing God’s work?
Jesus’ response - “Go tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Matthew 11:4-6)
Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me. 
I feel sure that answer brought John great peace. Jesus knew what John’s heart needed to hear. But can I be honest with you? If I had heard a whole list of things that were being done, miraculous things happening outside of my cell walls while I sat and waited for certain death? I probably would have been more offended.
Miracles are happening? Amazing. You really are the Messiah? My heart rejoices! So…why am I still here? Why no miracle for me? You are able to save me, and I am willing to serve You. So why aren’t You moving for me?
But that last sentence of Jesus’ reply remains.
Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me. 
The Word says that with God all things are possible. All things. There is no limit to His ability or His power. And yet…sometimes He doesn’t move. We know that He can, but sometimes He doesn’t. And we? We get hurt. We get offended.
God, I know You have the power. I know You could do this one thing in my life. I see You moving in this person’s life and that person’s life. Why won’t You move in those ways for me? 
And I wonder if He would gently whisper to us -
Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me. 
Blessed. Happy. Fortunate. To be envied.
Unoffended. Not tripping. Not stumbling – on who He is and how He works and what He does and does not do. Not piling up those tripping places until there is an insurmountable wall between us and Him. 
Being unoffended? Being able to be at rest when He is not moving the way we want Him to, the way we expected Him to? It. Is. Not. Easy. Because, quite honestly, it hurts. We feel rejected. Forgotten. Unnoticed. Unloved. Uncared for. Why, God? Why won’t You move? I just don’t understand. 
I want there to be some feel-good ending to John’s story. A miraculous intervention. Something to make us feel better, to make us think that God will always eventually do exactly what we want Him to. But the truth is, John died. He was beheaded.
Why didn’t God move on his behalf? And why doesn’t He move every time we desperately want Him to? I don’t know those answers. None of us can really know.
So what do we do in the face of all that we don’t know? We stand on what we do know.
We cling to the truths we find in His Word – that He is for us, that He loves us, that His ways and His thoughts are higher than ours, that He has a plan for each of us – to give us a hope and a future, that when we get to eternity with Him all that we have been through on this earth will seem like nothing compared to the glory of being with Him. We trust He sees what we cannot see, knows what we cannot know, and He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him.
We believe that when we meet John in heaven, he is going to tell us what we will see for ourselves. That it was all worth it. Every. Single. Second.
Why is the person who is unoffended by Him blessed? Because they have a heart that, even though it may hurt, can grab a hold of true peace. A heart that knows how pure and steady and unfailing His love is. A heart that knows He is worthy of our trust. A heart that does not pull away from the Lord when He says “wait” or “not now” or an all-out “no.” A heart that stays fully His.
Offense causes separation.
Offense says, “I know better than you.”
Offense says, “I am right and you are wrong.”
The unoffended heart says, “I am going to let You be God.” 
Do we continue to ask for Him to move? Do we continue to ask for those things we desire? Absolutely. He tells us to ask, to seek, to knock. But the unoffended heart does not pull back saying, “I am going to wait and see if You do what I want You to.”
The unoffended heart tucks in closer than ever before. 
Lord, You made us. You know that we are dust. You know that our hearts are weak. You know that we can be so easily offended. Forgive us for doubting You. For doubting Your love, for doubting that You care for us, for doubting that You always have our best in mind. Lord, strengthen us by Your Word, especially in those places where our hearts are failing us. Remind us of the truth of who You are and who we are to You. Tear down the walls that we have built up. Heal and restore our places of broken intimacy with You. Help us to be secure in Your love, having the blessing of an unoffended heart. You are worthy of our trust, worthy of our praise, worthy of our hope. Always. Amen. 
Praying He loves on you in extra tender ways today, friend.

***You can find a running list of this series at the end of THIS post. And don’t forget you can check out LOTS of 31 Days posts at the Nesting Place.***

It was no accident that I came across Kimberly's blog. I am thanking God for His truth and the reminder of His love!

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