Sunday, December 01, 2013

When it's wait and wait and wait...

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 1:1-25

TO CHEW ON: "And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child because Elizabeth was barren and they were both well advanced in years." Luke 1:6-7

The inability to have children is psychologically painful for hopeful parents-to-be. In first century Jewish society where having children was the life mission of women and failure to conceive considered a sign that God was displeased with you, that was doubly so.

However, "well advanced in age" Zacharias and Elizabeth had, at the time of the events in our reading today, probably made peace with their childless state. That was the only sensible thing to do. So imagine their incredulity and joy over what happened the year Zacharias took his turn doing the high priest duties in Jerusalem. An angel visit telling him they would have a child was followed by Elizabeth actually getting pregnant!

Have you noticed how many other special Bible children were born after long delay? Abraham and Sarah had Isaac in their old age. Jacob waited a long time for his favourite wife to have Joseph. Hannah suffered through bitter years of infertility until Samuel was born.

I don't know why God sometimes makes us wait, and wait, and wait for the things we want most. But there is no doubt the waiting is also part of His plan of causing all things to work for good. For one thing as a result of waiting we view the answer to our prayer, when it finally comes, with a lot more appreciation and thankfulness than if there had been no delay. And the intervening wrestle with God helps to sift us and tone our faith. Stories like the miracle baby of Zacharias and Elizabeth sure help in that department.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for stories of prayer answered after long waiting. Help me to trust you about the things for which I'm waiting and praying, knowing nothing is too difficult for You -- and that if You say "no" or "wait" it's for a reason. Amen.

MORE:  O Come O Come Emmanuel
We are entering the season of Advent when one of the things we focus on is how our world waited for its Redeemer. One of the Christmas songs that embodies that sense of longing beautifully is the traditional carol "O Come O Come Emmanuel," sung here by Red Mountain Music.


Learn about the significance of the season, the history of Advent wreaths, colors, and discover some Advent traditions in this excellent article "The Season of Advent: Anticipation and Hope" by Dennis Bratcher.

Chapter 12 ("Learning to Trust God through Infertility") of Infertility: A Survival Guide for Couples and Those Who Love Them talks about infertility from a Christian perspective. You might also want to explore The Infertility Surivival Guide web site which has links to more of the book's content as well as other helpful insights for couples struggling with infertility.

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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