Fear is powerful. Fear can overwhelm us. It can make us doubt what we believe in the most. It can cause us to question what we’ve done and why we’ve done it. Fear can cause us to wonder if we’ve wasted our lives. Such was the case with John the Baptist. Imprisoned, he wondered if he had lived life appropriately. Unsure, he reached out to Jesus.
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. – Matthew 11:2-5, ESV
The once godly iconoclast of the wilderness, the one called to preach a message of repentance and forgiveness in preparation for the coming of the Christ, wondered if his life had been worth it. Had he lived up to what he was supposed to? Had he pointed people to the right one, to the correct man who was Christ? That’s what fear can do. It can take someone so formerly strong in the faith and cause him to question everything he did. That’s why John did the only thing he could think to do, he sent messengers to reach out to Jesus.
Note that Jesus didn’t rebuke John’s lack of faith. He didn’t shake His head and deplore how weak John had become. He instead gave the right words to help John deal with his fear. The miracles were proof that John had pointed people to the Christ. Jesus answered John with the encouragement the imprisoned man needed.
When we’re afraid, no matter how powerful that emotion of fear, we always have the option of turning to God in prayer. We can’t send messengers to an earthly person like John did, but then again, we don’t have to involve a middleman. We can simply go to God directly. Jesus understands our fears. He can sympathize with them having come in the form of a man. Therefore, there is no shame, no rebuke, and no punishment to seeking God out when fear threatens to overwhelm us.
Are you afraid? First, turn to God in prayer. Acknowledge how you feel. Don’t be afraid of a rebuke. If you’re honest with God, as John was, God will respond in a way to help you deal with that fear. There’s no guarantee that He’s going to alleviate you of the situation you’re in. After all, John only left prison upon his death. But God can provide the means for you to overcome that fear. However, you first must turn to Him in prayer.