But I received a good bit of encouragement from some great friends yesterday. It gave me an added boost of energy to get on the projects that need to be done today and tomorrow. Once these are off my plate, then I can get back to working on my original goals. And let’s face it, it’s only November 5th!
Sometimes we do get sidetracked by unforeseen things in our life. Whether it is good or bad, “life” has a way of getting in the way at times.
There was a couple in the New Testament who knew what being sidetracked was like. How an unforeseen incident changed their lives.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were along in years. Scripture says, “well along in years.” (Luke 1:7 – NIV) Each were descendants of Aaron and Zechariah was a priest.
I love the section of Scripture right before this statement. “Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.” (Luke 1:6 – NIV)
I don’t know about you, but I would love to hear God say that about me. To take notice that my obedience to Him is out of my devotion and love for what He’s done in my life (yes that was a sidetrack).
So when it was Zechariah’s turn to go into the temple and burn incense, an angel appeared to him and told him of the upcoming birth of his son. Details were given on how he was to be raised, what his purpose in life would be, and then the name was given. John.
Zechariah didn’t believe it could be so, because they were “well along in years.” Now here’s my question. How could you not believe if an angel appeared to you? How could anyone possibly believe that it wasn’t going to happen? Well Zechariah didn’t believe and because of his unbelief, he was unable to speak until the baby was eight days old. That is a long time to keep silent. That, I would say, was an unforeseen incident that kept Zechariah side-tracked.
But it doesn’t stop there. Elizabeth becomes pregnant. But Elizabeth’s response to this unforeseen event was completely different than Zechariah’s. She spoke these words. “The Lord has done this for me. In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” (Luke 1:25 – NIV) Elizabeth was thrilled. Her seclusion was a treasured sidetrack.
When John was born, we are told that Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives “heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.” (Luke 1:57 – NIV) I find it interesting that Zechariah wasn’t mentioned at this point. The priest who was unable to speak due to his unbelief perhaps was still sidetracked. But it didn’t take long for his belief to be revealed to his community.
When asked what they were going to name the child, Zechariah asked for a writing tablet. On this tablet he wrote, “His name is John.” (Luke 1:63 – NIV) Immediately, Zechariah was able to speak and he praised God.
Through this miracle, their neighbors and friends were filled with awe. It was all they could talk about. They knew that God had been in the middle of this event.
Elizabeth’s pregnancy was certainly an unforeseen event. I believe we can look at both Elizabeth’s and Zechariah’s reactions to find the best way for us to deal with something that can sidetrack us in our lives.
Zechariah was unbelieving. Elizabeth believed.
Zechariah questioned. Elizabeth accepted.
Zechariah lacked faith. Elizabeth proved to be faithful.
Zechariah asked for evidence. Elizabeth acknowledged her gift.
Do you see a pattern? Each loved God and were obedient to His ways, there’s no doubt about that. But they reacted to this announcement differently.
So I must ask the question, “How do you respond to unforeseen occurrences?” Do you lean more toward Zechariah’s reaction or Elizabeth’s? I think we need to be prepared for the inevitable. Life will throw us a curve ball. There’s no question about that. How we react is really what counts.
I will get through this week. I will get through this month. I can even say I will get through the unforeseen incidents that jump onto the path ahead of me. But after reading of Elizabeth’s determination to be faithful to God, I know it’s possible to go through it all in obedience, with grace, and by God’s strength.
Now I must get to work!
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,