Questions in the dark

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“Bless the Lord God of Israel because he has come to help and has delivered his people. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house, just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago. He has brought salvation from our enemies and from the power of all those who hate us. He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and remembered his holy covenant, the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham. He has granted  that we would be rescued from the power of our enemies so that we could serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes, for as long as we live. You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way. You will tell his people how to be saved through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide us on the path of peace.” ~Luke 1:68-79 (CEB)

In waiting it seems sometimes that the darkness closes in. In waiting, the questions sometimes scream out. To deny my questions is to give them more power than they actually have. In the stillness, that waiting involves I can forget that God’s promises are even for me too.

Zechariah prayed and waited for a son. He prayed for so long and the answer was silence for so long that he forgot to watch. But when God’s answer was realized, “At that moment, Zechariah was able to speak again, and he began praising God.” (Luke 1:64)

Rueben P. Job says this about Zechariah:

“Zechariah was a deeply religious man, a man full of years and full of experience. He was a leader in the religious life of his community and was filled with a question that would not go away. Even an angelic visit did not calm his fears or answer his question. “How can I know that God’s promise is true for me?”

It is easy for us to make light of Zechariah’s struggle, thinking it would be different for us. If an angel visited us, we would believe. If we had received such a direct promise from God, we would trust and rejoice. But the truth is we have received a much greater and more direct promise. We have the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus to confirm the promise of God’s love and provision. We have the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to assure us the companionship of God and the power of God in everyday life. We have two thousand years of experience to remind us and assure us that God can be trusted and that God will provide. But the questions are not easily put to rest. What if I am wrong and give my life to the focus of my wishful thinking and not to the living God? What if I am listening to my own desire and not the voice of God as I seek direction for my life? What if God leads me astray and into a life that is too much for me?

Zechariah is not the only one who hears the nagging questions. We hear them too. How will I know God is guiding me? How will I know God will provide for me? How will I know that God will forgive me? How will I know God loves me as an individual? How will I know? How will I know God? These are the nagging questions that lurk in many of our lives, and to deny them is to give them power they do not have. To face the questions honestly and directly is to see them for what they are- a response of fear to our lack of faith. So what shall we do? Continue our life as Zechariah sis- praying, serving, listening. And as we continue our disciplined listening for the voice of God, we will be called to remember that God does care for us and provide for us in wonderful ways, even when we are unaware of that provision.

After living with the questions, the apostle Paul said, ‘I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels…, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom. 8:38-39). The assurance that we are enfolded in the loving arms of God can still the nagging questions and grant us the grace, peace, and serenity to live all of life fully and faithfully every day.” ~Rueben P. Job

Heavenly Father, grant me this blessed assurance today and always. Give me the strength to face my questions, faith when the questions want to give way to fear. I claim the assurance that I am wrapped tight in your loving arms and that nothing, not even my questions can separate me from Your love Amen.

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