Friday, September 23, 2016

A Good Day to Stop Doubting

Today is the Feast of the Conception of John the Baptist. In case you don’t remember the story, Zacharias (the father of John the Baptist) was a Temple Priest. He and his wife Elizabeth were elderly and without children. In those days it was often thought that being unable to bear children might have been a result of sinful past. But this was not the case with Zacharias. Here is today’s Gospel reading...

Gospel Reading: Luke 1:5-25 (RSV) - In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared." And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time." And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and they wondered at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them and remained dumb. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying, "Thus the Lord has done to me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men."

Despite being righteousness, Zacharias doubted God’ promise for his wife to give birth to a son. Even after being face-to-face with the Archangel Gabriel, he doubted God’s promise, so he was left unable to speak until he witnessed God’s power. Finally after John the Baptist was born, Zacharias was able to open his mouth and speak the glory of God.

Don’t wait to witness God’s miracles before you learn to trust in God’s promise. His promise for you isn’t always going to be miraculous. In fact, it will rarely be about miracles since as life experience has already shown to you, miracles are extremely rare. God’s promise for you is that you will be strong enough to endure the struggle of life so long as you live in Communion with Him. He will hold your hand. He will guide your heart. He will sometimes even perform miracles. He just asks that you trust Him. Today is a good day to learn from a righteous man. Today is a good day to learn from Zacharias. Today is a good day to learn to have faith and stop doubting God. 

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