“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. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.” [Luke 1:5-7]
What an admirable couple Zechariah and Elizabeth were. Well connected, they would have expected life to go well for them. But they had been unable to have children and must have been deeply disappointed. And their disappointment must have been with God, as He was the source of all new life. Yet, we read that they were righteous and had lived godly lives through to old age. They were not to know that things would turn out well for them but, nevertheless, got on with their lives in a way that honoured God. (I wonder if God, by withholding the blessing of a son until old age, was actually being gracious to them protecting them from knowing that this son would meet his end in hideous execution?)
For many years I lived with an underlying disappointment as the various things I hoped to achieve had not come to pass. And yet I found myself carried forward to the next stage in my life and now (in relatively old age!) I can see how the disappointments were actually stages in the preparations God was making in my life. This is how life with Jesus plays out. A life of hope that dusts itself down from disappointment and trusts that God has good plans that will come to pass – in His timing. Please do not mistake this for a prosperity gospel promising material blessing or an easy life. The blessing of faith is secure relationship with God and a life of purpose bearing the fruit of love and hope – faith, hope, love, Paul’s glorious triptych in 1 Corinthians 13.
Father God, I lift before you those living with dashed hopes, whether of having children or using gifts they believed You would have them exercise. Grant them peace in their disappointment, unshakeable trust in You, and a sure knowledge that You are working Your purpose out in their lives – that they might walk with Jesus in righteousness all their days, to Your glory, Amen.