In A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P Job writes the following devotional which reminds us that like Zechariah, we are filled with questions that test our beliefs. How should we respond to times of unsettlement in our lives? What is the antidote to fears arising? Read on.
“Consider Zachariah, a deeply religious man, a man full of years and full of experience. He was a leader in the religious life of his community, and he was filled with a question that would not go away.
Even an angelic visit did not calm his fears or answer his questions. In response to the heavenly message that his prayer had been heard and his wife, Elizabeth, would bear a son, he replied, “How can I know that God’s promise is true for me?” (Luke 1:18)
It is easy for us to make light of Zechariah’s struggle, thinking it would be different for us. If an angel visited us, we would believe. If we had received such a direct promise from God, we would trust and rejoice.
But the truth is we have received a much greater and more direct promise. We have the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus to confirm the promise of God’s love and provision.
We have the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to assure us the companionship of God and the power of God in everyday life.
We have two thousand years of experience to remind us and assure us that God can be trusted, and that God will provide.
But the questions are not easily put to rest. What if I am wrong and give my life to the focus of my wishful thinking and not to the living God? What if I am listening to my own desire and not the voice of God as I seek direction for my life? What if God leads me astray and into a life that is too much for me?
Zechariah is not the only one who hears the nagging questions. We hear them too. How will I know God is guiding me? How will I know God will forgive me? How will I know God will provide for me? How do I know God loves me as an individual?
How will I know? How will I know, God?
These are the nagging questions that lurk close in many of our lives, and to deny them is to give them power they do not have.
To face the questions honestly and directly is to see them for what they are – a response of fear to our lack of faith.
So, what shall we do? Continue our life as Zechariah did – praying, serving, listening. And as we continue our disciplined listening for the voice of God, we will be called to remember that God does care for us and provide for us in wonderful ways, even when we are unaware of that provision.
After living with the questions, the apostle Paul said,
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
The assurance that we are enfolded in the loving arms of God can still the nagging questions, and grant us the grace, peace and serenity to life all of life fully and faithfully every day.
May God grant us this blessed assurance today and always.”
Blessings for a good week ahead,