Morning by Morning, December 9 - Healing and Hope for Discouragement and Disappointment
Good morning, Lord Jesus. My spirit comes to attention as I speak out Your name and welcome You in to my morning and the moments of my day. ...
"In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in age" (Luke 1:5-7).
When know the rest of the story -- of how the angel Gabriel would come and encourage Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth would miraculously have a child, even in her old age, who would "make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (v. 17). But at the same time, it's also good to see the first part of their story -- the years and years of longing and praying for a child that never came, though they both faithfully served God and sought to walk in His ways.
Sometimes we're discouraged and disappointed by unanswered prayers. Sometimes we look around and we're envious of the favor and blessings upon the lives of others, when it seems like we are trying to be just as faithful and committed, if not more. And if we let ourselves admit those thoughts and feelings are there, no matter how hard we try not to have them or try to keep them suppressed, we also see how we can be tempted to give in to self-pity, jealousy, and resentment.
But like with Zechariah and Elizabeth, You are always at work in ways we don't always see. Their lives -- even the hard seasons of their lives -- were part of Your unfolding story. You were never blind to the burdens that broke their hearts and never distant to cries of their hearts in prayer. Every word from Your heart "would be fulfilled in their time" (v. 20). And in the fullness of time, they would be filled with "joy and gladness" and their son, John, would be "filled with the Holy Spirit" to great Jesus the Messiah even from his mother's womb (v. 14-15, 41).
As we remember the old Christmas stories of those who have gone before us, let us also be encouraged for the stories of Christ unfolding before us in the journey of our lives and our faith every day. Let discouragement, jealousy, self-pity, or resentment have no place in our hearts. But rather, keep filling our hearts with Your Holy Spirit and the hope of the joy and gladness that come in the moments our encounters with You all along the way. That's the gift of healing and hope You invite us to embrace through faith in You and Your words for us. "All things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23 NKJV). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I pray your heart will be filled with Holy Spirit and the hope of the joy and gladness to come in the unfolding of God's story through your life, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!