When Hope Disappoints You

“And blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Matthew 11:6

So many of us know the story. John The Baptist walked with Jesus. In fact, he introduced him to the world as the promised Messiah. But this intimate knowledge of the God-Man did not negate John’s moment of doubt — a moment sparked by confusion and darkness.

John’s crisis situation: He is locked in a cell awaiting death by decapitation and Jesus is not around. His probing question: Is Jesus the Messiah or should we be expecting another?

The result? Jesus–learning of this question that his faithful cousin and friend has asked in earnest–doesn’t turn and go to him…not to break him out of prison…nor to deliver him from imminent death…not even to respond in person….

Was the Hope of the world about to disappoint somehow?

Jesus’ response: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind received sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

I’d known the better known beatitudes, but here is one that cuts right through me.

John has his reasons for doubting. Not so much that Jesus doesn’t return for him, but to John–upon closer scrutiny–is it possible that Jesus does not fit the preconceived ideas that John has of who the Savior should be..about what Jesus should be doing in contrast to what He is doing? Perhaps Jesus should be more militant? More royal? Exercise more power and less vulnerability?

The things John does not understand…the ways that are far above John’s ways and the thoughts that are far above John’s thoughts concerning Jesus’ life, ministry, and mission…are causing him to stumble.

“Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

After years of harboring secret disappointment with God because I didn’t understand why I lost certain things or why my health turned out as it had or why He didn’t do what I thought He should have done to change things, this was the beatitude that would set me free.

I am blessed when I am still and just know that He is God, not needing to understand His thoughts in the matters concerning my life.

I am blessed when I realize my limited control over my life in the scope of eternity.

I am blessed when I see my scars through HIS nail-scarred hands. Sobering indeed.

I am blessed when I do not stumble–become doubtful, questioning, confused and flustered about finite matters–on account of the infinite ways of my Savior.

The blessing in not stumbling on account of Him and His ways–the ways I don’t understand–is found in resting in His sovereignty.

The blessing is in knowing that Hope never disappoints.

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