BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST [LUKE 1:57-66,80]
Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted so much to have a child, especially as they watched their neighbors’ families grow. But as deep as their desire was, God wanted their faith in him to become deeper still. This is, in part, the fruit of their long years of waiting of the the Lord to fulfill their dreams. Day by day, as they prayed for a child, they were challenged to continue to hope in God. Every day, they faced the question, “Is God trustworthy? Does He love us? Will He provide for us?” And, every time they answered “yes” to these questions, their faith grew a little stronger.
When Zechariah was struck mute by the angel (Luke 1:20), he entered an intense time of blessing from the Lord. God wanted to teach him so that Zechariah could then teach his son what it meant to rely on God. When John was born, Zechariah’s response bore witness to the fruit of his nine months of silence. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he proclaimed God’s faithfulness and prophesied great blessings over his son.
How important this time was for Zechariah – and for the whole of salvation history! John was destined to spend years alone in the desert, listening to God and awaiting the time when he should appear and announce the Messiah’s coming. Then, when he was imprisoned by Herod and awaiting his fate, John again needed to be sustained by all that God had promised. Where did he learn such patience and trust, if not from Zechariah and Elizabeth?
We all have unfulfilled desires and hopes. As beloved children of God, we must never give up hope. We can place our full confidence in the One who called us by name and hears every prayer that springs from our hearts. As we wait on the Lord, let us ask Him to mold our characters and make us more like Him. In the end, we will find that His plan was far better than our own. We will be able to proclaim with Zechariah that it was not by human power but by divine power that wonderful things have taken place in our lives.
Jakarta, 24 June 2014
A Christian Pilgrim