Do you ever look around and wonder, “How long, God? When will it be my time?” Are you faithful, diligent, hard-working, but yet not seeing the fruit of your labor? All around you are people who seem to be abundantly blessed with life falling perfectly into place for them, while you wait. And wait. And wait.
Luke opens his letter addressing the recipient, Theophilus, describing what is to come: an “orderly account”…”that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”
I think when we are in this time of waiting, we begin to lose our certainty. As we embark on this next book in the New Testament, let the Gospel speak to you the truth of God and renew your confidence in who He is and who you are in Him.
Luke begins with an introduction of two people. A priest, Zechariah, and his wife, Elizabeth. We learn that they are both righteous before God. They are walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. BUT, they have no child; Elizabeth is barren. AND they are old; the time for having their own child has long passed.
“How long, God? Why have you forgotten us?” they might be thinking in their moments of weakness and heartbreak. “We are faithful. We do all that you have commanded. Everyone around us – even the evil ones – have children, while we have none. Why, oh Lord?” I imagine their deep pain rooted in years of seemingly unanswered prayer.
Remaining faithful, Zechariah keeps showing up for work. On this day he is serving as priest before God and something incredible – a once in a lifetime event – happens. He is chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. A holy honor. God is always working behind the scenes. The whole multitude of the people is outside praying. I’m quite sure Zechariah is inside praying as well, possibly sneaking in the often repeated prayer for a child.
While lighting the incense, something comes into focus from the corner of his eye. Terrified, he sees an angel on the side of the altar. “Do not be afraid…your prayer has been heard…your wife Elizabeth will bear a son.” And not just any son. The angel goes on to say that many will rejoice at his birth. He will be great before the lord. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just. He will make ready for the Lord a people prepared. No ordinary child, indeed.
The prayers, the obedience, the faithfulness, the waiting. Elizabeth is with child. The child the last prophet 400 years earlier spoke of…” Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts… And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” (Malachi 3:1, 4:6a)
Mary, the cousin of Elizabeth, is also miraculously with child…Jesus; the Messiah; the Son of God. Elizabeth’s child, John the Baptist, leaps in her womb when Mary walks in the door. He is filled with the Holy Spirit and he recognizes the One he will prepare the way for while both are still in the womb. God is working out a mighty plan.
“Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord,” Elizabeth exclaims with a loud cry.
When God’s plan starts unfolding, you’ll understand why it took so long. Be patient and faithful. Your time is coming. Steep yourself in the Word so you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. The future may look different than you envision – it certainly did for both Elizabeth and Mary – but God’s plan is perfect and beautiful, and you are a glorious part of it. Blessed is she who believes that there will be a fulfillment of what has been spoken by the Lord.
I'm intentionally praying today for those in a long, dark season of waiting. I’m praying for assurance of God’s promises; for a certainty of belief. You are loved and valuable and beautiful and useful to God. Your time is coming.
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