[QTVOTD] Suffering is part of the plan…

“He [Herod] sent and had John beheaded in the prison.” Matthew 14:10 ->me:  John the Baptist had an amazing ministry and had been put in prison by Herod because John had rebuked Herod for marrying his half-brother’s wife (Herodias).  Herod stuffed John away so that he would not cause more damage to his image but knowing the popularity of John, Herod stopped short of killing him.  Then, on a whim, Herodias’ daughter (Salome [likely a teenager]) asked for John’s head on a platter as a gift for her mother.  Having made a promise to give Salome anything she wanted, Herod obliged.  There is an anger that wells up in me when I read this recollection by Matthew.  I am fighting questions of how could God let this happen to the one who went before Jesus, baptizing converts and making ready the hearts of men and women to be tuned to God as Jesus came onto the scene.  First, in my heart I believe this story played out exactly how God intended.  Second, God understands our pain but His plan goes forth.  When Jesus heard of John’s death, ‘He withdrew privately in a boat into a solitary place’.  Jesus mourned the death of John – but John’s death was still part of the redemptive story.  If I look at John’s death through a different lens then I see mercy.  John was spared a painful death by being beheaded, and the Jew’s focus would now turn to the Redeemer, Jesus; and it was at this point that Jesus ministry took a turn toward the cross through teaching and healing…in fact, this is exactly what Jesus does as soon as he comes off the boat to the throng of people who had gathered.  1) I must see that the suffering of believers is part of God’s plan to build His Kingdom.  2) If I am to be like Jesus, then I am to react to these moments with sorrow for a time, but to respond in continued focus to bring more unto Himself.

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