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Today is my birthday and as I reflect back over the years, I am grateful for all that I have gone through. It’s interesting, that I can be grateful for years past because there were some truly difficult and hard times that I did not like. There were seasons where I just wanted to give up and walk out because nothing seemed like it was going to change.
While we are in a season of difficulty, we can’t see how it is helping us, or more appropriately changing us into the character of God that he has called us to be. The enemy takes what God is using to build us into a better person and turns it around to where we become angry at God for not changing our situation. I believe this is one of the reasons God tells us to meditate on his word day and night.
The Bible has tons of examples of those who went through difficult times and felt like God had abandoned them, but later they saw the purpose of God’s plan; for example the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah. During the time Herod ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to Abijah’s group.[a] Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, came from the family of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth truly did what God said was good. They did everything the Lord commanded and were without fault in keeping his law. But they had no children, because Elizabeth could not have a baby, and both of them were very old. (Luke 1:5-7, NCV)
Did you notice that the Bible says that Elizabeth and Zechariah truly did what God said was good yet they could not have children. I’m sure when Elizabeth was around all of her friends and they were having babies she felt like God had abandoned her. I’m sure like most of us she would wonder what she had done wrong, and why was God not answering her prayer. We learn later in the chapter that God does give them a child.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing on the right side of the incense table. When he saw the angel, Zechariah was startled and frightened. But the angel said to him, “Zechariah, don’t be afraid. God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to a son, and you will name him John. He will bring you joy and gladness, and many people will be happy because of his birth. John will be a great man for the Lord. He will never drink wine or beer, and even from birth, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will help many people of Israel return to the Lord their God. He will go before the Lord in spirit and power like Elijah. (Luke 1:12-17, NCV)
God had a purpose in holding off Elizabeth’s pregnancy because she was given a son who would prepare the way before Jesus came. The birth of her son had to wait until the appropriate time for Jesus to be born. Her pregnancy was a miracle because of her old age and a confirmation of encouragement to Mary, the mother of Jesus who had conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-36).
As we journey through whatever season of life we are in, we must remember that God has purpose for it. I’m sure Elizabeth and Zechariah later reflected on their lives and was truly grateful and rejoiced over what God had done. We may never see or understand God’s purpose for the difficult times in our lives but that is where are faith comes in! For we live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)
Affirmations: Matthew 10:20; Luke 24:32; Ephesians 6:19-20