Maybe it's a new relationship, a new business venture, or a new school you will be attending. Or it could be medical test results, a your troubled teen, your home being vandalized, or moving to a another state without job prospects.
Yesterday, it was a woman who called my office with water seeping into her son's bedroom. Two experts had already inspected and still no one could tell us a cause. The woman had a broken foot and family was planning to visit for Christmas. Will they have to jack-hammer her cement slab to find the broken pipe? How will it all turn out?
2000 years ago, other people were asking the same question about the baby born to Zacharias and Elizabeth. Zacharias had been unable to speak for months, and now, during the circumcision and naming ceremony of his baby son John, Zacharias regained his speech. The neighbors were already shocked that Elizabeth was having her first child in her old age.
A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone who heard about it took it to heart, wondering, “What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his hand in this.” (Luke 1:65-66)
When you are in the middle of something, it is impossible to know the end result. Any single snapshot of our lives is only one slice of the story. Elizabeth, only one year before, was an old barren woman. Now she was the mother of a baby prophets foretold of centuries before. Only one month ago Zacharias could not speak and now he was filled with the Holy Spirit prophesying about the Messiah and his son. But isn't that how all of the story went? At age 60 Abraham was childless. At age 50 Moses was a shepherd on the back side of the desert. At age 25 Joseph was a slave and a prisoner. At age 20, John the Baptist was living in the desert eating locusts and wild honey. At age 17 Peter was a fisherman. At the end of his life, Paul sat in a Roman prison waiting to be executed writing letters to friends. At age 33 Jesus was nailed to a tree.
God promises. He promises ahead of time and reveals it to us so we see that He is the true God, a good God, a faithful God. The God who kept His promises to the nation of Israel, and indeed to all the peoples of the world by sending His Son to visit and redeem His people, will be faithful to us today. Even though we can not be certain how the troubled teen will grow up, how the new job will work out, and whether or not the floor will need to be broken up to find the leak, we can be sure that God is faithful and merciful and good.
God does not promise us the future we want, but He does promise to be with us in our future, to provide, comfort and guide. And in the end, His presence is the best present.
He came and set His people free.
He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives,
and in the very house of David his servant,
Just as He promised long ago
through the preaching of His holy prophets:
Deliverance from our enemies
and every hateful hand;
Mercy to our fathers,
as He remembers to do what He said He’d do,
What He swore to our father Abraham—
a clean rescue from the enemy camp,
So we can worship Him without a care in the world,
made holy before Him as long as we live.
And you, my child, “Prophet of the Highest,”
will go ahead of the Master to prepare His ways,
Present the offer of salvation to His people,
the forgiveness of their sins.
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God’s Sunrise will break in upon us,
Shining on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.
Read the whole story in Luke 1:57-80.