I began this lovely Monday morning with reading the book of Luke along with the Beth Moore study i just started, "Jesus: The One and Only." The book of Luke begins with the account of Zechariah's story. A story of a couple who were "righteous in God's sight," a story that tells of a long rooted desire for he and his wife, Elizabeth, to bear children. A prayer that I can only imagine they uttered more times than anyone can imagine to God, asking for him to bless Elizabeth's womb with the gift of life. A prayer that I'm sure as the years continued on and on, was harder and harder for them to hold hope in. As Zechariah entered his priestly duties for prayer in the temple, which I can only imagine how high he held these honors, there is no doubt in my mind that during his time of diligent prayer for the people and for the Lord to send the Messiah, Zechariah's heart cried out to the Lord that prayer that I'm sure he had prayed many, many times in his life. My study this morning pointed out that as the angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah in the temple, his greeting was
My heart stopped there. I've heard this story many times over, but this morning my heart totally connected with Zechariah's heart and his prayer. The angel Gabriel wasn't referring to his prayer for his people or for the Messiah, but to the personal utterance of Zecharriah's prayer in his heart for a child. A sudden relation occurred to me between his prayer to my prayer. A prayer that in my 27 years I've uttered more times than i can count. A prayer for a husband and a family.
Recently I read an excerpt from a book by Elizabeth Elliot that described singleness to an individual that longs to be married as suffering. Now I don't equate singleness to other, much greater, sufferings that occur in this world, but I do equate it to my own personal suffering. I don't thrive living alone, I long to be known fully, I long to love fully, I long for a family, and for me to continue in a state of singleness for continued years, and now into my late 20s, and a continued seemingly "unmet" prayer, seems like personal suffering. Yes I'm young and yes there are many more years of my life yet (God willing), but for this desire that is so deeply rooted into who I am to go unmet just yet is suffering. Daily though I must pick up this cross and carry it. I must choose that my circumstances of singleness will not define me, but God's love will. I must choose to trust that the Artist who created me is taking perfect care in designing His masterpiece and in His time, He will fulfill that prayer.
And you know what the funny thing is? Even in this time of singleness I am being stretched and grown. Is it uber challenging some days? Heck yes it is, but I truly believe that the Lord is preparing me for a new season that is to come. Will that be marriage? Who knows? but I continue to move forward daily with where the Lord is leading me, looking for ways to make this singleness purposeful and trying my best to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
How encouraging that Zechariah's & Elizabeth's life long prayer was answered and in a way that was far greater than they would've imagined!! Their son would be John, one who would be "great in the sight of the Lord," would make ready a people prepared for the Lord, and would even announce Jesus' coming. Can you imagine? Not only did the Lord bless them with a child, but a child that would play a mighty role in God's big story. An answer to prayer that was bigger and better than I'm sure Zechariah or Elizabeth ever thought to ask for.
What prayer do you have close knit to your heart today?
Do not lose hope and continue to be faithful in prayer. You never know how God may answer and for me, I pretty much love the fact that it may be in a way that I would've never thought!
"be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer"