Loss of Faith
By Dr. James R. Miller
“Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?” – Luke 7:19
John was in prison, in the castle Machaerus. 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 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 person’s blindness, or dullness, or unbelief, but 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, with all his sweet humility, could once show an ambition for a place of honor, while we ourselves are for ever 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 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 loss of a few pounds, or a little pain, than John did in his really great trials.