Just listened to some more helpful stuff from Bill Johnson:
John the Baptist was given great revelation that Jesus was “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world“. That is rich truth right there! It’s like the whole OT came right into focus for him. But later in prison as he sits there confined in the dark he begins to wonder. If Jesus is the Messiah how come he isn’t getting him out of prison. How come John who had such a key role in recognising Jesus is now out of action. What kind of Messiah leaves his messenger to rot? He sends messengers to ask Jesus if he is really the Messiah.
Jesus sends them back to report what they have seen and heard. He doesn’t give them a lecture on the OT and how he fulfils it, although I guess he could have. He just says “look the lame walk, the blind see and the good news is preach to the poor”. He is basically saying “Look what God is doing”. Get John’s attention back on what God is doing rather than what God is not doing.
Focusing on what God is not doing can cause you to slip into unbelief and even cause you to be offended with God. “God can’t be loving if he isn’t doing this thing right here”. “How can God be good if he doesn’t sort this?”. It’s easy to get offended when we focus on what God isn’t doing. One person gets healed but we can focus on all the people who are not yet healed and think God is uncaring and unloving.
Not only do we need to focus on what he is doing now but we need to focus supremely on what he has already done in Christ. He has given up his son to death on a cross so that our sins can be forgiven, so that we can be adopted into his family, so that we can have eternal life. He has paid the ultimate price to give us every spiritual blessing in Christ. He true offence was our rebellion and disobedience which through the love of God has been removed.
Having said all that there is a right way to focus on situations where God doesn’t seem to be working just yet. In fact it’s essential that we spot them and call out to God for his kingdom to come there, and step into them ourselves to bring his presence into them.