Luke 1:11-13 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.”
Even God’s answers to prayer can be scary! We are by definition limited in our grasp of things, even our own situations, so when God speaks to what is really going on it can blow us out of the water. We tend to define how we want our prayers to be answered, so how God chooses to answer them can really catch us off guard. God’s answer to Zechariah was so out of the ordinary that he flat couldn’t believe it! He had probably given up on praying for a child, but God hadn’t forgotten, and His answer fit into His plan of salvation for mankind in a way that Zechariah would never have imagined on his own. We need to pray with boldness and assurance that God is listening and He cares, and thus pray with gratitude and anticipation, but at the same time not try to dictate terms and conditions, much less time frames, to God. That can be really hard! God understands our human weakness and doesn’t put us down for it, but He is constantly urging us to growth, maturity, and yes, perfection. (Matthew 5:48, etc.)
Yesterday was a blessed day of affirmation in many ways, attending a church I pastored in 1979-80 and being welcomed very warmly by members from that time. However, the big event of the day came at supper. We’ve been staying with a long-term friend who is very close to the Lord in many ways, and as I came to the table she said some very powerful words of affirmation to me from the Lord. I was wiped out, and dissolved in tears, causing Cathy some concern when she showed up moments later. I had not been aware of my need, but the day had included repeated times of telling people how small our church is at this point, and I guess I needed a bit of a pick-up. I honestly don’t remember the details of what was said to me, but it certainly included the idea that God was very pleased with me. I am humbled indeed, and grateful. I am to keep walking each day in fellowship with my Lord, being available to Him to say and do what He desires but never thinking I can do anything good on my own. I am to be His agent, not with delusions of grandure but knowing that He can use even Baalam’s donkey, as He had me pray in the church service yesterday. I am to pray expectantly, while leaving all the details – the Lordship – in His hands.
Father, this has been quite a trip. Thank You that we start back toward Japan today. Yesterday may have been the highlight of the whole thing for me, but You might have something even better waiting! Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You at all times, so that I may be fully available for however You want to use me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!