“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.” Psalm 145:8,9
Oh, how true this is, but it’s so easy to forget, isn’t it? Time flies, things change – or don’t – and we slip into a dull, settled routine. Routine has its place but following God is anything but routine – even after decades or centuries have passed. Don’t believe me? Check out the first chapter of Luke.
“5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.” Luke 1:5-15a
So, here is this couple – who according to the account, were “… righteous in the sight of God” yet had no children. In their culture this would have been viewed as a curse – a mark of God’s disfavor. For years they had endured whispers and hidden scorn, and now – during the mundane course of work – an ANGEL shows up; “Hey, Zech – your prayer has been answered!” (my paraphrase, of course) And Zech is like; “What prayer; I’m just handlin my business, you know?” And the angel is like – “You know, the prayer about the kid… you wanted a kid, right?”
Zech; is confused because he gave up praying for that – YEARS AGO. He and his wife Liz are old, and at this stage of life they “… don’t know nuthin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!”
Now the angel (Gabriel) is none to amused with Zech’s doubt and slaps the tongue right out of Zech’s mouth. Ok, I got a little carried away there; no slapping ensued but he did cause Zechariah to be mute – unable to speak – until all that he had foretold came to pass. Zech has just had the defining moment of his life and what happens next? He gets to finish his work… show up day after day and do what he has done for years in the past. He completes his duties and goes home. He and Liz are intimate and lo and behold she gets pregnant! She has a son just as Gabriel said, and they name him John, just as the angel suggested. Zech gets his voice back and there is praise and worship all around.
What a great story – a true story – but what does it have to do with you and me? Let me ask you this;
- What have you prayed for that has seemingly gone un-answered? Years have passed and you’ve long since given up the dream.
- What have you done or said that by your estimation disqualifies you from receiving the gift?
This story demonstrates the proclamation of the psalmist; The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.
Whatever the prayer – apart from the absolute obliteration of your ex – is still on the table if God has not definitively said no. Time is not the judge or cause of God’s response or ability to provide. It may be impossible with man, but NOTHING is impossible with God. You may have to labor in the “same old – same old” until the time is right, but the time IS coming.
Perhaps you have doubts , or you’ve made poor choices – God is slow to anger and rich in love. Zech kind of “stepped in it” didn’t he, but that did not deter God from answering his prayer and working HIS plan. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The Lord opens His hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing. The Lord is faithful in all he does, and is near to all who call on him. (Psalm 145) Nothing can thwart the determined blessing of God – least of all YOU!
Be encouraged – dream your dreams – trust and believe!