Even those who are steadfast face emotional turmoil called “the dark night of the Soul”. When you’re lost in despair, you look for a glimmer of hope and understanding. In this article, we discover how even those close to Jesus struggled with doubt and how God’s Word can be the antidote for despair.
Down In The Dumps
John, the Baptist, was well aware of Jesus’ ministry and fame (18), but nevertheless questions whether or not Jesus is ‘the One’. What’s going on in John’s mind?
Had he forgotten the stories surrounding his and Jesus’ birth? Either John was depressed and wasn’t thinking rationally, or he had completely misunderstood Jesus’ role (cf. 3.17).
Personally, I think the former is more likely, though perhaps tinged with an element of the latter. John was probably incarcerated in a hole or cave underground.
The Antidote To Despair
More than a prophet he may have been, but he was still subject to the full range of human emotions. If Jesus was raising the dead, why wasn’t he also setting this prisoner free? Was not the evil Herod overdue for the threshing floor (see 3.17-20)?
If John could be depressed, or at least lose his perspective, and still draw Jesus’ highest praise, how much more should we acknowledge and bear with our weaknesses and others’? There is no shame in getting down or depressed.
Note the antidote though: Jesus points John to the Scriptures (22, see Isa 35.1-6; 61.1), reassuring him that God is in control and that his purposes are being fulfilled in the way Isaiah prophesied.
Finding Perspective In God’s Word
There is no better way for us to get the right perspective on life than to turn to God and his Word. It may well take more than that, but not less.
The advantage we have over John though is that we live on the other side of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
We have the witness of Luke (and others) to the greatest sign and victory of all. God’s kingdom reign has been inaugurated, and Jesus’ return in glory to consummate his kingdom is assured. That gives us a sure, eternal hope, which mocks even death. It is in this sense alone that we are greater than John (28).
So as John the Baptist found comfort in Scripture during times of doubt and despair, you too can find solace and perspective in God’s Word. It’s a great reminder that even in our weakest moments, the Bible can help us.
Take a moment to explore how God’s Word can be an antidote to your despair and encourage others to do the same.