11th day of Advent December 13th, 2017 Luke 1:5-17
“Do not fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard.”
What frightens us? Why?
I was speaking with a friend this morning. We were asking: "how 'Christian' are we?" In essence, this question asks: "how faithful are we?" There are very few lessons which we will find in pretty much every book and chapter of Scripture; faithfulness to God is certainly one of those persistent themes found infused on every page of Holy Scripture. In Scripture, God almost pleads with His people to be faithful and to know His Love! In Scripture, we are asked if we truly trust God and remain faithful even when His wisdom seems foolish to us? In Scripture, we are asked will we faithfully obey God even when His way is contrary to my way? Will I be faithful even when my understanding is undermined and God's call seems too costly? When chaos and destruction stand in the path to which God calls me, will I walk faithful or fearful?
Yesterday, through tears, a friend read Psalm 73 to me. Sometimes life just does not seem fair. We do what is right and proper yet we suffer while others flaunt and defy God and seem to prosper. Zachariah was a priest among priests and Jew among jews, yet he lived humiliated among the jews. He and Elizabeth were childless - shamed without offspring - suffering in barenness.
Do not fear. Your prayer is heard. A child will be born miraculously into this barenness and impossibility. Joy is coming. Many will delight. God in His time and according to His perfect understanding is acting. Many will be turned back to God. In the style and strength of Elijah, God will use this impossibly conceived child to transform His people. Faith reaches beyond my assessment of present circumstances; faith knows that regardless of how I perceive here-and-now, there is something bigger happening. Faith knows that where human wisdom fails, God's foolishness conquers.
We know the end of this miraculously conceived child's mortal story. There will be more questions and confusion among us. None born of women is greater than this child - yet he will be struck down and murdered. We might judge the murder senseless and evil. Yet from a vile murder, God will draw an ultimate good. There is more to the story God calls His people into than we can even begin to imagine.
So even in the storms of life, we do not fear. God hears our prayers. God is for us! God knows His purpose. So, His people walk fearless and faithful, unshaken and singing God's praise even among the perils of this life.