December 23, 2022
When Angel Gabriel told Zachariah that her wife Elizabeth will bear a son even in her old age, he doubted understandably because it was against all odds. He said, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.” And the Angel retorted, “Listen! Since you have not believed in my words, which will come true at their appointed time, you will be silenced and have no power of speech until this has happened.” (Luke 1:18-20).
That was enough lesson for both Zachariah and Elizabeth. So that when the time came for the naming of the child, they had to forego even their culture and family tradition of naming the child after his father. According to Elizabeth, “No, he will be called John,” to the consternation and dismay of her relatives and neighbors for no one among their relatives had that name.
The biblical figures this in season of Advent and Christmas, the likes of Mary, Joseph, Zachariah and Elizabeth, all of them have encountered a God that always makes a way. Isaiah has prophesied it, “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. Thus says the Lord, who gave you a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters.” (Isaiah 43:15-16). He is a God who makes possible the budding of a shoot even from the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). Initially, Mary, Joseph, Zachariah and Elizabeth—they all doubted. And so did Abraham and Sarah.
And so are we. When crisis appears we question the love of God. When the cross appears in our lives, we think God does not love us. Job was exceptional. Despite the temptations of Satan and the touting of his wife who wanted him to curse God and die because of seemingly devastating misfortune, he did not waver. He did not reproach God and he did not sin. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I shall return again. Yahweh gave, Yahweh has taken back. Blessed be the name of Yahweh.” (Job 1:21). The greatest misfortune is to doubt the love of God.
1. Had there been situations in your life when you would rather follow human conventions than the plan of God?
2. Have you doubted God’s love only because of what you construed as useless suffering?