It was the third day of this new year, but I had none of my usual happy anticipation.
The turning of the calendar did NOT my life better make.
You know what I mean.
The world feels weird and I was deeply weary . . . weary of my inability to keep my spirits up.
It was a quiet Sunday morning. I sat down to pray-write, to pour it all out to Jesus (like He didn’t already know.), starting with “Lord, I am discouraged again. I am worried and I am weak and I feel responsible to do something and I don’t know what to do.”
I wrote two pages worth, ending with the plea, “Help me, Lord. Help me lay down all these burdens. Please help me give it all to You.”
With deep sighing, I put my journal aside and went to the kitchen.
I felt hungry for a Spanish breakfast — grated tomato on toasted bread drizzled with olive oil, with a cup of café con leche. (That’s a bit of coffee in a cup of hot sweet milk.)
As I fixed this yummyness, I had the idea to listen to a Spanish sermon.
I found Daughter #3’s church’s website and clicked on a sermon by my son-in-law. He is a pastor leading their church on-line, like pastors all over this pandemic world.
He taught on Luke 1, the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, their “beautiful testimony of vigor and obedience in dark times.”
Vigor. Yes. I need that.
Obedience. Yes. I want that.
Dark times. Yes. I feel that.
You remember their story. The angel Gabriel visited Zechariah to announce good news: “God has heard your prayer and you will have a son.”
Zechariah, being a realist, questioned the angel. He knew Elizabeth was way-too-old to conceive. So he doubted God’s promise.
What did God do in the face of his unbelief?
He took away Zechariah’s ability to speak for nine months.
But He did not take away His promise.
God would answer their personal prayer for a child, and at the same time, He would fulfill a 500-years-old promise found at the very end of the Old Testament.
This got me: God’s prayer answers, plans, and purposes were not dependent on Zechariah’s strength nor his faith.
God will do what He determines to do; He will keep His promises.
No matter if I question angels.
No matter if I keep forgetting.
I can rely on and rest in God’s promises because, like my son-in-law said, “God’s promises do not anchor in my abilities, but in His grace and power.”
In that moment I experienced that greatest of all miracles, the miracle of a changed heart.
God took away the heaviness.
So I celebrated with a second breakfast, another piece of tomato toast and coffee.
I was, and still am, so grateful for my son-in-law reminding me of God’s grace and power.
If I am to have the testimony of Zechariah and Elizabeth, “of vigor and obedience in dark times”, then I must realize it is not the turning of the calendar that gives hope.
It is only when I turn to God and remember that His face is always turned towards me.