Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. I grew up in a Christian home and read the Bible stories surrounding Christmas every year, but never thought about it in these terms. This past Sunday, Pastor Mike from New Life Church in Corpus, shared some insights we can take from Luke 1:5-38. It spoke to my heart so much that I wanted to share it with you. If you have been struggling with understanding God's faithfulness, unanswered prayers, doubt, or frustration, this may speak to your heart as well.
Gabriel's Announcement to Zachariah
Zachariah, a priest in the temple, and his wife, Elizabeth, walked faithfully with God. Scripture tells us that they were righteous in God's eyes and were careful to obey all of the Lord's commandments and regulations. It also tells us that they were not able to have children, in a time when being "barren" meant you or your husband had sinned and were being punished. Regardless of what others believed of them or how they felt, they continued doing what the Lord asked of them. They were faithful. Then on an ordinary day, doing exactly what he did on a normal basis, Zachariah was met by the angel, Gabriel, announcing the answer to his and Elizabeth's prayers. They were going to have a child.
"It is in a place of faithfulness
How often do our reactions and responses affect us? For Zachariah, his response had an immediate and difficult effect. When Gabriel announced the wonderful news that his wife was going to have a child, what was his reaction? Probably what many of us would've said if we're honest - "How can I be sure this will happen? I'm an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years." How often do we hear from the Lord that He will do something in our lives and immediately ask, "How's that going to happen"? Or He calls us to do something and we come up with a list of reasons why it won't work. I've done it in my own life, over and over. We begin to doubt, to question.
For Zachariah, this doubting cost him his voice. He was made mute until his son was born. Perhaps Gabriel silenced him to to prevent him from canceling out anything that the Lord was going to do. Our words have power. At times, they can become our own worst enemy. When the Lord desires to bring breakthrough, but we're so busy voicing our doubts, concerns, criticisms, etc. we may miss out. We need to be careful of what we give a voice. Stop voicing doubts, fears, frustrations, anger, or criticisms. It opens up the door for the enemy to mess with your heart and head. Voice truth. You can't mix fear and faith.
Gabriel's Announcement to Mary and her Response
When I read stories from the Bible, it can be easy to wonder why the people reacted the way they did. Many times my first initial reaction to their responses are, "Why on earth did they do it that way?" And then I remember, they were human and not fictional characters in a story. Then I think of Mary. I mean, seriously, here is a 13-year-old girl who gets visited by an angel who tells her she will become pregnant, as a virgin, and give birth to the Savior of the world! That would throw a mature adult! And what's even crazier is she had no frame of reference! It's not like she could say, "You know, I think I remember hearing about that happening about 40 years ago". Never in the history of the world had this happened, nor has it happened since. Of course she responds with a bit of doubt in the beginning.
But here's her next response - "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true." Wow, what faith! She doesn't know the how, but she knows that "the word of God will never fail". She understands, in that brief moment, that God is true and faithful and trustworthy. The thing is, it's not our job to know the "how". It's our job to trust. To be faithful. To obey.
"Christmas is a great time to recapture our awe of God. Be willing to allow Him to blow your mind!"
This message for me was so encouraging! There have been so many times in my life where I have known God has called me to something, and for years, my response was much more like Zachariah's - doubt, lack of trust, criticism. Over the last year, the Lord has really been taking me on a journey of faith. This journey is so crazy that there's no way it will work unless He makes it happen. I need to rely on Him. I have to trust in what He has spoken, be faithful in what He has asked me to do, and keep doing what is right. I don't need to know how He will accomplish it, I just need to trust that He will.
Whatever breakthrough you need, be it a marriage healed, financial provision, illness removed, faith increased, family members coming to Jesus, KEEP PRESSING ON! Continue to walk in what the Lord has for you to do. Love generously. Be faithful in doing good. And trust that He will, too.