| Will, Sarah and Riley Schafer (mostly Sarah) will read Luke 1:13b-18 | Stacia Serafin will sing All Is Well | Ben shares a meditation on God's timing |
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
...the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.
You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.
And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.
He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” [Luke 1:13b-18]
God's grace operates in God's time.
Zechariah's response to the angel - I'm an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years - gives strong evidence that years ago when his wife and he were younger they had prayed for a child, but the answer God gave them seemed to be no.
Occasionally God answers our prayers immediately, sometimes with yes, sometimes with no, but a common theme in scripture, in my own life and perhaps in yours as well is "wait".
Has God ever made you wait for an answer to prayer? Zechariah and Elizabeth had to wait for years for their prayer for a baby to be answered, but now the time was right.
Similarly, God's people had to wait hundreds of years for their promised savior, and again, now the time was right.
God's silence doesn't always mean God's refusal. Sometimes He says yes, sometimes He says no and often He says wait.
Perhaps it is best to trust God and not rely on our own understanding.
God is immensely patient with our failures, how can we refuse to be patient with His timing?
Father, thank You for the patience You show us. Thank you for not forgetting nor abandoning your children. As we wait together to celebrate the Advent of Your Son among us, please help us to be patient with You and with one another as You are patient with us.