The road the righteous travel is like the sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until daylight has come. Proverbs 4:18, GNT
Yesterday we left a literally, and figuratively, speechless Zechariah with an immense amount to contemplate – each thing mind-boggling in its own right: an encounter with the archangel of God; the prospect of fatherhood – in old age; how he would cope with not speaking until a week after John’s birth; the prophecies spoken about his unborn son; God naming his son.
These were things that he would need time to work through as he prayed and meditated in the silent days ahead. The only thoughts he’d voiced after Gabriel’s amazing news had been: “How shall I know that this is so?” And, “I am an old man, and my wife is old also.” (Luke 1:18,21)
I’m not making light of Zechariah’s predicament. After being my grandchild’s play date for a day I reluctantly realised why there’s a time in life especially marked for being a grandparent. But, I love that, like our love, our faith doesn’t just disappear because we’re maturing; it increases with each experience – keeping us in step with God. Faith is about our belief in what God can do regardless of our limitations, which keeps us joyfully in step with Him towards the ever brighter daylight.
Gabriel’s indignation at Zechariah’s rude response is reflected in his incredulous retort: “I am Gabriel”… “I stand in the presence of God, who sent me to speak to you and tell you this good news. But you havenot believed my message, which will come true at the right time.” (Luke 1:19)
God was merciful and gave Zechariah time – albeit an uncomfortable time – to reflect on his relationship with him and to fall in line with him.
If we’d been in Zechariah’s shoes how would we have responded to receiving God’s favour and blessing in our old age? Would our response have also received the ire of Gabriel’s stern words because we too were just going through the motions and were totally out of step with God, not serving him as we’d appeared to?
How many times do we look back on a situation that has been a trial to us, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, and realise, with hindsight, that God has worked it for our good? Our faith and understanding actually grew during that time, and left us with a greater empathy with others because of it, confirming the truth of the Philosopher’s paradoxical words, “sorrow is better than laughter … it sharpens your understanding.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3)
Each trial leaves our road “growing brighter” as it helps us to get back in step with our immeasurable God.
Believing is seeing!
Prayer: Father, may this knowledge encourage us this Advent, wherever we are with you on that road. During this season, as we contemplate the many miracles, may we put our faith in action and see the road grow increasingly brighter as we move forward. Amen