Believe in God even when He is silent
Luke 1:5-13 (NIV) In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. (6) Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. (7) But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years. (8) Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, (9) he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. (10) And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. (11) Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. (12) When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. (13) But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.
Today’s reading is both challenging and comforting. It is challenging because it reminds us that as believers, we do not automatically escape the troubles of this world, this temporal life. And it is comforting because it shows that God hears us and sometimes answers our requests in accordance with His will.
Here we see a man and his wife, both considered righteous because of their observance of the Mosaic Law. They were indeed considered blameless in their observance. In accordance with Deuteronomy 30 verse 19’s choice of choosing life or death, blessing or curses, Zechariah and Elizabeth had chosen life. They were blameless in their observance. Yet, they were not blessed in accordance with the blessing that they were expecting. Elizabeth was barren.
This is a stark reminder to us that, one, we are not blessed by religious observance alone. And two, neither are we blessed purely by our association to Christianity. As Christians, there is no automatic entry into a trouble-free-life-sweepstakes-competition. No! This world remains in a fallen state. It has not been redeemed yet, made new. That will only happen later when Christ returns, at the end of the age. As Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away …”.
It is also a reminder to us that, three, God’s ways are not our ways. We cannot look at the world around us and at people’s lives and conclude by external observance alone, that they or anyone is or is not blessed by God. How easy it would have been to look at Zechariah and Elizabeth’s life and their childlessness and conclude that there must be sin in their life and that that is why God is not seemingly blessing them. How dangerous it is to draw unnecessary and unfounded conclusions.
But finally, note that God did indeed intervene in the end and promise that a barren Elizabeth would bear a son. Again, be reminded that God’s ways are not our ways. Maybe it was that God was waiting for just the right time for John to be born. Maybe it was that God was waiting for just the right parents to take care of John. Maybe it was that God wanted to remind a Godly man, a priest with clout, that He still operates in the supernatural. That nothing is impossible for God.
Friends! I don’t know what is going on in your life. I don’t know what you are dealing with, what pain and suffering you may be bearing. And words like “God’s got a plan” sometimes don’t help, but rather make you sink further in despair. But listen to the following words engraved onto a cellar wall in Nazi Germany during the Jewish Holocaust:
I believe in the sun even when it is not shining
I believe in love even when I cannot feel it
I believe in God even when He is silent
May God strengthen you today to carry the burdens that you do. And yet, may He answer the prayer of your heart. In Jesus name. Amen.
my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say