“Where do you want to put this?” Rob says as he removes the magnet from the ultrasound photo of our baby. “I don’t want to keep this on the fridge.”
“Put it in my Bible,” I said.
Rob thought to himself: “Yeah, that’s a good place for it. I want to keep it forever but it’s too painful to look at every day up on the fridge.”
He randomly opens my Bible to Matthew 11:6. A verse that has a lot of history for us, but Rob more than me.
One of the more poignant books I’ve listened to is Gene Edward’s book, The Prisoner in the Third Cell. Rob listened to it first and it affected him in such a deep and profound way he told me I had to listen too.
From the book’s back cover:
“The Prisoner in the Third Cell is a book of comfort, told as an unforgettable drama, for those caught up in circumstances they do not understand. As John the Baptist awaits his execution in prison, he struggles to understand a Lord who isn’t the Messiah he expected. If you are a suffering Christian or know of one, this book will bring enormous comfort―and insight into the ways of God.”
In short, the book boils down to Matthew 11. John the Baptist is in prison, he has given his life for God, lived in the wilderness, been subject to ridicule and his sole purpose, his only purpose in life, was to pave the way for Jesus.
While John the Baptist is in prison, John sends his own disciples to Jesus to ask one question, “Are you who we’ve been waiting for, or should we look for someone else?”
Of course Jesus doesn’t answer John with a direct yes or no, he gives him so much more than that.
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
It’s like Jesus is saying: “What do you think? Have you seen anyone like me? Do you really think someone else is coming? No, dude. I’m the guy. I’m the one that the Old Testament is written about, prophesied about and your man John is in prison for the right message. He’s following the Savior of the world.”
Oh and one more thing, tell John, “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” – Matthew 11:6
That verse, that’s the one that hits home in the Wurzel house. Let me put it to you in today’s modern terms.
“Hey Wurzels, I know you’ve been following me and trusting me and pursuing me. That’s good, keep doing that. You are blessed if you’re not offended by your infertility. You are blessed and highly favored if you don’t take offense at the trauma I’ve had you endure with your daughter Reagan. Blessed even more if you trust me through your brain surgery, through your breast cancer. And when I give you the good news of your pregnancy, blessed still if you do not rise up in offense at your God in anger when you lose that baby. You will be tested, tried and refined, enduring a double mastectomy and miscarriage within a six month span. Blessed beyond measure are you if you do not take offense at me, because of that.”
Rob randomly opened my Bible to Matthew 11:6, “Blessed are you if you do not take offense at me.”
I broke down in tears as he told me. Earlier this week, I felt God ask me this question, “Would you rather have the things you hope for in this life or incomparable things you can’t even dream of in eternity?”
I know we have rewards and crowns in Heaven. I still want joys in this life. I still want the dreams I’ve dreamed here. But if I had to choose, I’d choose riches and blessings for eternity. It doesn’t mean I’m not hurt or wish things were different. But that question was not one I would have thought of, it was posed to me by God. And I know the answer, and He knows I know the answer.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” – Mark 8:36
Back to John, Jesus, and The Prisoner in the Third Cell. John gets the message from his disciples…and shortly thereafter he is beheaded. And blessed is he, who is not offended by that.
For Rob, seeing the verse as he tucked the ultrasound into the Bible, it was God telling him “I got you” and giving him a Heavenly hug, an acknowledgement of our pain, and a reminder that we can trust in His big, overall plan for our lives.
It still hurts, we both cried, but we are not offended.