I read the subject line and opened the email. The news from my friend was discouraging to say the least. I write her back and tell her, I’ll pray. And I do. I’m praying for a miracle. But if you’re anything like me you might have this one little problem.
This time of year I love to bathe in the miracles found in the first couple of chapters of Luke. The Christmas story. These chapters are rich with hope even though they are filled to the brim with human frailty. Maybe that’s why I can find myself within the pages. I’m particularly fond of the story about Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth.
Zechariah was a priest. He and his wife Elizabeth were up in years and they had no children. The Bible says Elizabeth was barren. I wonder how long they prayed for a child before they stopped? Gave up. I’m sure they wondered if God just overlooked them. There seemed to be no reason why God wouldn’t bless them with children. The Bible even tells us they are righteous, keeping all God’s commands. During this period of history a woman was thought of as a disgrace, less than, if she couldn’t conceive. Surely they felt discouragement.
Then we read in Luke 1:8-13 where Zechariah was chosen by lot to burn incense in the temple. The time was right for this once in a lifetime experience for him. While there, he was met by the angel Gabriel standing by the altar. The angel tells Zechariah his prayer has been heard and that he and his wife Elizabeth would bear a son. The angel goes on to say how it will happen and that his son’s name will be John and then goes on to explain his purpose in life.
But Zechariah is met with unbelief. Hearing what the angel says, he ignores all the details and hones in on one central fact. The one thing life experience has taught him.
Old people don’t have children.
Because of his doubt, Zechariah is unable to speak a word until his child, (John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus) is born.
Here’s what I learn from Zechariah and what we can watch for as our own stories in life play out.
1. Zechariah let the frailty of his flesh diminish the magnificence of his miracle.
2. He allowed familiarity in what he knew to override the faith in Who he knew.
3. Maybe he spent more time on the ritual of religion than his relationship with his God.
How can we make sure we stay hopeful, watchful, and open to God’s miraculous works today?
When faced with difficult circumstances —
1. Meditate on God’s words. They never fail. (Luke 1:37 NIV)
2. Cry out to the Lord, I believe, help me with my unbelief! (Mark 19:24)
3. Pray, I know my own experience but help me know more of You who gave me this life to experience. (Psalm 139:13-14)
You see what Zechariah didn’t know was that God set he and Elizabeth apart to parent the child who would grow up to prepare the way for the Son of Man. And the timing had to be just right.
As we prepare ourselves this Advent season may we be reminded of how to see the miracles. Because each answered prayer is a miracle unto itself. And when and how God answers has nothing to do with the possible and everything to do with the impossible. And all to do with His timing and glory.
Dear gracious Father, help us to be less concerned with the “what” we know and more concerned in knowing more of You. We are thankful this season for the grandest miracle of all, Your Son, our Savior, Jesus.To Him be all glory and honor forever. In His precious name we pray, amen.
Moving forward, pressing on and trusting God in every bump and twist in my road.
Merry Christmas with love,