Was there something you wanted from the Lord in 2012? Something good and legitimate? You trusted and prayed. You also did your part. You were no quietist. But the thing hoped for didn’t come. And you wonder. Yes you know you need to trust in the Lord; yes He knows best. Yes, He may say no, though for the life of you, you wonder why, since what you ask for is good and holy. In your darker moments, you wonder if God answers prayer. You wonder if there is a God after all.
Which is why it is so important to keep in mind God’s track record. He is God who does what is best. And He does it in His perfect time. After the fall of humankind, He promised to send His Messiah to make things right again. But He took His time. Thousands of years, in fact, but the Messiah finally showed up. Which may explain why the angelic choirs were a bit over the top in their announcement to the shepherds.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:8 – 14 NIV)
Look at some of the words the angels used: Good news! Great joy! All the people! Saviour! Messiah! Glory! Highest heaven! Peace! When something has been much anticipated, it is greeted with extra joy! God takes His time but He comes through.
God’s chronology is different. Peter reminds us:
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. (2 Peter 3:8 – 9a NIV)
Divine chronology is different. But He is never late. A perfect God will act in His perfect time. So Paul could describe the time of Christ’s coming in this way:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. (Galatians 4:4 – 5 NIV)
Christmas and the coming of Jesus is a fresh reminder to trust in God’s perfect timing, a fresh challenge against the despair that sometimes accompanies unanswered prayer.
Sometimes it’s very hard to be patient. But God just cannot be rushed. And indeed it calls for faith and trust on our part. While waiting, we must continue to “do good.” Indeed one key sign of active, faithful waiting is that we continue to follow Christ wholeheartedly while we wait.
We know of some dear friends who badly wanted a child. They were God-fearing folks and their desire was legitimate and good. The years passed, but no baby. Friends who were married later seemed to have no problems having children. But not them. Lots of people prayed. Doctors were consulted. Hopes waxed and waned. Finally they conceived! There was much joy and thanksgiving. But they lost that child to a miscarriage. Still, they did not give up hope. They were not gripped by bitterness. They did not turn away from the Lord. They continued to faithfully serve Him. The Lord finally gave them a child, a beautiful daughter, nine years into their marriage.
We know that every story is different. The point is our friends did not know for sure that God would give them a child in their ninth year of marriage. But even as they waited, they continued to be faithful to Him. They continued to trust in the Lord and continued to do good.
The psalmist exhorts us:
Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun. (Psalm 37:1-6 NIV)
A good passage of Scripture to remember as we end 2012 and step into the New Year.
A new year beckons
A new opportunity
To journey with Him
Blessed 2013 from all of us at Graceworks!