December 21, 2015

Luke 1:63-64 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God.

Zechariah had learned his lesson! He obviously had communicated his experience with Gabriel to Elizabeth, because they were in agreement on the baby’s name, but I doubt that many, if any, of the neighbors knew the details. We have the record of what Zechariah said in his praise to God in the following verses, and it is clear that the nine months of being unable to speak had drawn him closer to God and better able to hear Him. As I tell people frequently, God never picks on us; everything He allows in our lives has the potential for blessing. Sometimes that includes some pretty horrible stuff, but if it draws us into a closer, better relationship with our Creator and Lord, it’s worth it. Joni Tada has spoken and written extensively on that, having broken her neck as a teenager and lived in a wheelchair ever since. However, she has blessed countless people and her own relationship with God is sweet indeed. Zechariah’s nine months of silence were trivial in comparison! The whole question is whether we accept and learn whatever it is that God is wanting to do and teach us in what we experience. We have the freedom to either accept or reject it, but it’s pretty obvious which gives the better result!

I’ve not had major health issues myself, and I tend to feel I haven’t had many trials. However, looking back objectively, I realize I’ve been through quite a few things that felt like pretty severe trials at the time! The thing is, the blessings they have brought have erased the pain, and sometimes even the memory, of the trials. I doubt very much whether Zechariah dwelt on how long he had been unable to speak, as he was raising his son John. When we focus on the negatives, we often miss the positives! At this point my wife is still recovering from major back surgery, and she faces brain surgery in February. Actually, she has quite a “rap sheet” when it comes to medical problems! However, God has grown and blessed her, and me too, in the process of it all, and we know that everything on this earth is just a process and a prelude to prepare us for eternity with our Lord. When our Lord is Himself love, (1 John 4:8) that’s a good thing indeed!

Father, thank You for all You allow us to experience, whether it feels good at the moment or not. Thank You for getting us through the day yesterday, including the programs at the nursing home. Thank You for the privilege of being Your representatives to those people. I pray that the words we spoke and sang would continue to work in their hearts and minds and draw them to You. Thank You for all that this week holds. I look forward to the end of the busyness, but keep me from missing any of Your blessings because of the poison of resentment. May I be Your agent for Your will to be done, every moment and in every situation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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