By Joseph Ametepe
"In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years" (Luke 1:5-7).
This passage teaches us an important spiritual lesson: Sometimes God allows certain difficult situations in the lives of His committed servants in order to accomplish His greater purposes through them. This is not an easy lesson for the believer to learn. The Bible makes it very clear that Zacharias (whose name means "the Lord has remembered") and Elizabeth (whose name means "God is my oath") were both devoted and dedicated servants of God. They were diligent and disciplined followers of God. They took God seriously. They were committed to God. They sought hard after God. They walked with God. They loved God. They were a husband and wife team that put God first in all areas of their lives. They sought God's kingdom and His righteousness. Their life was a blessing to God because they were loving Him, obeying Him, and serving Him. They were looking to God and living for Him. If there was any couple who should be celebrating the abundant spiritual and physical blessings of God in their lives, it was Zacharias and Elizabeth. But instead of basking in the blessings of God, they had a prolonged and perplexing problem in their lives. They had no child of their own. Elizabeth was barren. God had chosen in His sovereign wisdom not to open her womb. To make matters worse her biological clock was ticking fast to the point where they lost all hope of ever bearing a child. Theirs was a hopeless and helpless circumstance. Why should such a committed couple face such a difficult and disappointing situation in their lives? Why should such a devoted husband and wife team be left so long in such a state of feeling hopeless and helpless? Had they been forgotten by God?
The answer to these perplexing questions is simply this: Sometimes God in His sovereign wisdom permits certain difficult circumstances in the lives of His devoted servants in order to fulfill His greater purposes in their lives. God knew what He was doing in the lives of this couple. He was preparing to bless them with a special son, John. As the Bible teaches us, John would not be an ordinary child. His birth would be announced by the angel Gabriel who stands in the presence of God (see Luke 1:13, 19). How special is that! He would be great in the sight of the Lord (see Luke 1:15). How great is that! He would be the only child on record who was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb (see Luke 1:15). How wonderful is that! He would have the ministry of turning back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God (see Luke 1:16). How glorious is that! He would be the forerunner for the Messiah (see Luke 1:17). How unique is that! He would be "called the prophet of the Most High" (Luke 1:76). No other prophet was called by such an honored title. How outstanding is that!
God allowed the prolonged problem of not having a child in Zacharias's and Elizabeth's lives because He had a greater plan for their lives. They were blessed beyond belief. No wonder when John was born to Zacharias and Elizabeth, they could not help but rejoice and glorify God for His goodness and sovereign ways with them. Personally, God has allowed certain difficult situations in my life because I believe He has greater plans He wants to accomplish in and through my life-plans far greater than my own plans and purposes. Even though the wait is long and hard, by the help of the Spirit, I am choosing to accept His sovereign wisdom in the difficult situations. I often acknowledge to Him that His ways are higher and far better than my ways. I admit to Him that He knows what is best for me and that He is all wise. He knows even the end from the beginning. He has only my best interest at heart. As such, I am focusing on adoring and thanking Him for the greater purposes He will accomplish in His own good time in and through my life for His glory and for my good and growth in Him.
What about you? How are you responding to the difficult problems God has allowed to persist in your life? Are you feeling helpless, hopeless, and forgotten by God? Are you at the point of throwing in the towel? In dependence on the Holy Spirit, accept God's sovereign wisdom in your situation. Acknowledge to Him that His ways are higher and better than yours. Admit to Him that He knows what is best for you. Adore Him and thank Him for the greater purposes He will accomplish in your life in His time for His glory and for your good and growth in Him. In His grace, I believe He will also bless us beyond belief. Hallelujah! Glory to God in the highest!