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Text Sermons : J.R. Miller : May 28. Loss of Faith

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"Calling two of them, John sent them to the Lord to ask: Are you the one who was to come — or should we expect someone else?" Luke 7:18-19

John the Baptist was in prison — it certainly was not a very cheerful place to be in. We ought scarcely to be astonished at his temporary loss of bright faith. Yet a good many people think it strange that the grand, brave John the Baptist, could really have been in doubt, and scarcely believe it. "It is not possible," they say, "that such a great, heroic man should ever waver in his confidence." They forget that John lived just in the dim dawn of the gospel, before the full day burst upon the world. He had not the thousandth part of the light that we have in our day; and yet do we, with all our light — never get depressed? The truth is, there is not one of us who is not sometimes disheartened — without a hundredth part of the cause John had!

But that is always the way. We are amazed at every other person's blindness, or dullness, or unbelief — but not at our own! Other people's failures look very large to us — but we never see our own at all. We wonder how Moses once, under terrible provocation, lost his temper and spoke a dozen hasty and impatient words; while we can scarcely get through a single sunny day, without a much worse outbreak upon a far slighter provocation.

We wonder how the beloved disciple John, with all his sweet humility, could once show a carnal ambition for a place of honor, while we ourselves are forever scrambling for preferments. We say, "Isn't it strange that people would not believe on Christ when they saw all His power and love?" Yet we do not believe in Him any more fully than they did. We can scarcely believe that John the Baptist grew despondent when his trials were so great — though most of us are often plunged into gloom by the merest trifles. Many Christian people get more despairing over the gain or loss of a few dollars, or a little pain — than John did in his really great trials!

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