It puts me on edge whenever the nurse leaves the room at the doctor’s office and closes the door behind her. I would love to leave it cracked at least 6 inches – enough for the staff to see that a light is still on. I am certain no one will remember I am in there and everyone will go home.
That actually happened to my mom once. She had gone to the dentist and they said the dentist would be in to see her soon, only he wasn’t. And being unable to walk, she was kind of stuck up in her dental chair. She had only one option. She started yelling.
Sure enough, earlier the dentist had an emergency and had to leave, and the staff cancelled other appointments but forgot about the one in the back.
Thankfully, someone heard her and came running back just in time before they went home. It was hilarious then when she told me the story, and it’s still really funny. But it certainly doesn’t reassure me that I will always be remembered at my appointments.
I won’t lie – there are times I feel like God has forgotten me. It’s like He checked me in and sent me to the room to wait, and then got His keys and drove home. In my head I know this has not happened, but my heart needs some convincing.
Praying for specific things for days, then weeks, then months, and years – all the while seeing people with larger and smaller requests getting them answered left and right. I start to wonder if He remembers I’m here.
I think it might bring out a couple of unattractive qualities in me – my impatience and my doubt. I’m not proud of it, but we can only begin to heal when we get honest.
I felt a teensy bit less alone with this issue when I read up on John the Baptist in Scripture. In Matthew 11, he is struggling and in prison. A little background – John was filled with the Holy Spirit at birth in Luke chapter 1. He went around telling everyone about Jesus and baptizing them in Matthew chapter 3, and in the same chapter he baptizes Jesus himself.
And now he is sitting in prison, and sends this message to Jesus: “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Matthew 11: 3
John the Baptist had known who Jesus was. He publicly endorsed Him and said he wasn’t even worthy to tie Jesus’ shoes. He fully believed. Then he got in a crummy situation and started to question.
Jesus even went on to send a message to John about all the miracles that were happening while John was in prison. Blind people getting to see; people walking who couldn’t before; people who couldn’t hear, now know what birds sound like; even people who have died now have a heartbeat and lungs breathing in and out. He also tells John that the poor are receiving hope through His message.
He answered John’s question, but doesn’t get him out of his sticky situation. John was still in prison, but he gets reassurance that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah. That the work of God is continuing outside of John’s prison walls.
And it turns out Jesus hadn’t forgotten him. In Matthew 11, Jesus told his crowd all about John. He even said, “Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” (v.7)
He used John and his story to continue preaching to the people. He wasn’t forgotten.
Why John’s life ended the way it did, I do not know. I am sure John had questions himself. Certainly, Jesus could have spoken the words and freed him from prison. But for some reason John didn’t know, and we don’t know yet, God had a different plan for him.
I have asked God for answers for people I love so much, and the answer seems to be no, all the while people around us are getting their yeses. It’s hard to understand. But it’s comforting to know that we aren’t alone in our doubts, and to know that Jesus can handle them. We can ask, “Are you out there?” And He will answer. Sometimes He answers by reminding me of prayers He has recently answered that I have forgotten about in my pity party. And He answers by showing me His love. He answers with Scripture. He always answers
He is out there and we are not forgotten.
“I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’ but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:18-19