Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”
I truly love reading about John the Baptist and learning from him. Above we read that John “testifies” to the Truth that Jesus was and is. He comes in proclamation of what was prophesied and its current fulfillment. This is why He cries out in such exaltation and confidence. He wants all to see the manifestation of the Son before their very eyes. I believe He is overcome with joy at the revelation that is unraveling before him. What was told to him is coming to pass and I imagine he wants to yell from the top of his lungs, “look, listen, believe.”
John humbly reiterates that though Jesus comes after him, He actually was before him. In other words, John was sent ahead of Jesus to point the people forwardly towards Jesus but also backwardly to Jesus. It is interesting how this works. Because Jesus is infinite, all directions point to Him. He is behind us and He is ahead of us.
This is so profound when we think about the trials we go through in this life. Jesus in His infinite existence both past, present and future, fills us with Himself through every difficulty in life. This symbolizes His very presence through every stage of our afflictions. He surrounds us as He surrounded John the Baptist and all the people at the time. Just when we feel like we can’t take one more step, totally depleted by our current trial, Jesus reminds us that He is right there with us. Just like He was back then with the people of Israel (both Jews and Gentiles) He is with us today. He is in your presence wherever you are at this moment: in your workplace, in your office, in your classroom, in your living room, in your bedroom, in your car - He’s all around you. All we need to do is call out His name and He will listen.
There is always a purpose in our afflictions. And I think about how John the Baptist cried out and pointed everyone to Jesus and his eternal presence. Might we do the same? In our most difficult days and through our trials might we dare to cry out and point those around us to Jesus? Maybe that is the point of it all. Psalm 23:2,4 says:
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters...
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
To testify in the midst of our trials to The One who comforts us and leads us through green pastures and quiet waters is the highest hope we can give to others and the greatest glory we can give to Jesus; hope that is within demonstrated outwardly. It is hope looking out at a 360 degree angle. Hope towards the future because of He who “is” and hope towards the past because of He who “was.”
Jesus before me,
Jesus behind me,
Jesus beside me,
Jesus within me,
Jesus all around me.
In His great love,
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."