Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Application - Lk. 1:5-25

Application ~ God's Timing and My Response
“. . . an old priest named Zechariah . . . asked the angel, ‘How can I, an old man with an old wife, be certain what you say will happen?’ "The angel answered: '. . .now you will be silent and not able to speak . . . because you did not believe my words, which will come true at the proper time.'" (Luke 1)
Impatience should have been my middle name.

Oh, in some ways I can be very patient. Someone needs to talk? I can listen. Surgery goes longer than planned? I can wait, no problem. But in some other scenarios I just don't wait well. Put in traffic that runs about as fast as cold molasses and, well, just sit back and watch me and be amused. My sense of timing is sometimes out of sync with the way things are. You get the picture.

Now picture Zechariah and Elizabeth. All their lives they had wanted a child. Their friends were having children. No doubt they caught the well-intended, but hurtful, kidding on occasion - "Haven't ya'll figured out what causes that yet?"

With the passage of time, kidding and jokes were replaced with judgment. "There must be something amiss in your life for God to not give you children." "For some reason God doesn't think you're ready for such a blessing."

Ready? Zechariah and Elizabeth were more than ready.
". . . upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly."
Still, the next line reads:
"But they had no children . . ."
Now they were old and Elizabeth was barren. No doubt they had long since given up on the clock; it had apparently stopped ticking. And that, no doubt is the reason a veteran priest like Zechariah could talk to an angel in the temple of God and dare to question whether or not God's message made any real sense or not. Zechariah was trying to measure a timeless God by calendar years. But God has no clock or calendar and his timing is perfect. God struck Zechariah mute for months to help him learn that lesson!

And so I ask myself what lessons I need to learn (hopefully more quickly and easily than Zechariah)? If God wants me to wait until I'm old and gray to bring to pass something I think should have happened when I was still very much a young man, who am I to doubt, question or complain? If God wants to test me with many trials of faith, coming even from the lips of God's people and my friends, shouldn't I submit to my Maker's plan and timetable rather than working to short-cut it or escape it? If I should not even live to see the blessings he worked in spite of me, yet through me, who am I to disbelieve the wisdom of his ways?

Yes, it took an old priest a lifetime and being struck miraculously mute for him to learn real patience and submission before God.
". . . because you did not believe my words . . ."
May it not take the same for me or you. Instead, may we live each minute in simple trust that our disappointments do not negate his appointments, nor do our expectations wind his clock. For he has spoken:
". . . my words . . . will come true at the proper time."