Devotional: December 15, 2020
But the angel said, “I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news. But because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true on time—God’s time.”
Luke 1: 19-20 The Message
Have you ever been impatient with God? If we are honest with ourselves, most of us would probably admit our frustrations over waiting for the Lord at some point in our lives.
Here, the priest Zechariah had just heard an amazing promise from an angel. He and his wife Elizabeth were to finally become parents! They had been childless for more years than they could count. As people of faith, they had offered up many prayers to the Lord about Elizabeth’s barren state.
Now, in a very special place in the temple, the angel Gabriel surprised Zechariah with news that the couple’s prayers had been heard. He and Elizabeth would soon be mother and father to a son named John!
Perhaps reeling from shock, Zechariah voices his skepticism to the angel Gabriel. “Do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man, and my wife is an old woman.”
The verses of scripture are Gabriel’s response to Zechariah. Through his angel, God seeks to remind Zechariah that parenthood, and everything else in this world, comes in God’s perfect time. We may fret and worry. We might be anxious because God doesn’t let us set our own calendar, or for that matter, the world’s. Complaining to the Lord, like Zechariah, may seem like the logical option for us. There are times when God’s timing doesn’t make sense to us.
How many of us have done that? It is probably one of the most frequent complaints that people voice to God. Why couldn’t this great thing happen right now? Or, why couldn’t this terrible burden have arrived next year, or in ten years? Or twenty? Or maybe never? I am 100% certain we have all voiced such thoughts in the past 9 months.
The angel is reinforcing a foundational spiritual truth we all need to hear: God’s timing is never our own.
This can be a very good thing. I have a pastor friend who is serving a church he absolutely loves. His congregation loves him. However, he said that he would not have even considered serving this congregation ten years ago. But a lot happened in his life, and in the life of that congregation, so that five years ago, God brought them together. That providential specific call occurred in the Lord’s perfect timing.
Children have a hard time waiting for Christmas to arrive. As a child, I often could not sleep much at all for the night or two just before Christmas. I was so anxious for it to arrive! (Yet it was not because I was concerned that I had been naughty!) Like Zechariah, I had to learn to wait.
May we learn to celebrate this Advent season truth: everyone, from Zechariah and Elizabeth, to Mary and Joseph, to you and I: we all are waiting upon the Lord. My prayer is that we do so with faith, and trust, and patient hearts…
Lord, Your steadfast love for me never ceases. Help me to remember that You keep my calendar. Thank you for being patient with me, even when I am not patient with You. Help me to be satisfied with the path You put before me. May I keep Your light on that path, so as not to miss a turn.
Faithfully I pray these words in the name of Your Son, whose birth we celebrate this and every Christmas, Amen