Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
By David Wilkerson
John the Baptist was a man of the Word. He had spent his entire life studying the Scriptures in solitude and meditating on the law. He had pointed to Jesus and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). He had seen the Holy Spirit descend on Christ as a dove and heard the Father’s voice declare Jesus to be his own Son. Yet, John found himself in prison, his powerful, anointed ministry cut short by the wicked King Herod (see Luke 3:19-20). Now the crowds who had followed John were gone — the “voice of one crying in the wilderness” silenced.
John’s public ministry had lasted only a year but during that time, God had demonstrated his power through John’s preaching. Jesus knew that this fiery prophet would rather be dead than locked up in prison. After all, he had lived all his years in an open wilderness, walking through the land and sleeping in caves.
While John was imprisoned, some sort of deep, dark trial of the soul overtook him and he began to doubt. John must have wondered why Jesus had not delivered him from prison. After all, Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would set the captives free when he came. Frankly, Jesus was not living up to John’s expectations. Was he really the promised Messiah? (See Matthew 11:2-3.)
The same devil who tempted Jesus in the wilderness attempted to destroy John’s faith. And he uses these same lies and deceptions against us today. His goal is to plant seeds of doubt in us about God’s Word, his promises, his delight in us. Satan wants you to become impatient as you wait for answers to your prayers. But impatience with God can cause your prayers to become “a strange odor” instead of sweet-smelling incense.
James 1:2-4 gives us this encouragement: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”