50 Days of Hope: Day 27: You expect me to believe that?

Today is Monday. Saturday night I went to bed struggling with some things that were going on around me. When I woke and read my bible on Sunday morning I began to realise that what I wanted was control. Control over events and emotions, people and outcomes.

No wonder I feel frustrated.

I began to realise that unless I give up my desire to be in charge I won’t have peace.

Yesterday was the 2nd Sunday of Advent and the focus was on the story of the promise to his parents, that John (the Baptist) would be born. I know the story. I know that because Zechariah wouldn’t believe that he and Elizabeth would have child ( they’d been trying for years and thought they were too old for a baby by this point) he was unable to speak until the baby was born. But I hadn’t ever noticed the exact words of the exchange that took place between Zechariah and the angel Gabriel.

Gabriel gives Zechariah a very detailed account of what is going to happen, the name they are to give the baby, how they are to look after John when he’s born, and the great role that John will play in history. ( Luke chapter 1)

And Zechariah ( who I have a real soft spot for having read this) says;

‘ You expect me to believe this?’ 

Zechariah the Priest, the God follower, the mature man, is not impressed by the angel. He is not willing to trust. Can’t bear to be disappointed. How desperately he and Elizabeth must have wanted a child, and how cruel would seem the promise of something which they couldn’t have. He had grown jaded and cynical. He’d been hurt.

And Gabriel sounds rather piqued in his response – he says ‘I’ve been with God and he’s sent me to give you this message and I can’t believe you won’t take me seriously, and so I’m taking away your voice for 9 months. That’ll show you I’m to be taken seriously’.

The rest of the story follows and sure enough Zechariah can’t speak and they have a child and they name him John.

I identify with Zechariah. I struggle to believe that God really can be trusted with everything. But I am given hope by that story.

Hope because of what comes later.

Jesus – as a baby.

It struck me for the first time yesterday that trust in God doesn’t come any bigger than the Son trusting the Father when He became incarnate as a baby. Utterly lacking in control – of people, events and even bodily functions.  And Jesus did it. Why? He knew the Father and He knew that he could relinquish control to Him.

And so I begin today reminded of that fact and asking God to help me realise that my drive to control things is an illusory belief and a fruitless pursuit.  I cannot control anything outside my own being – my behaviours and responses.

And if I am not in control, and God is, it helps me to realise that the person who knows God the Father better than any other was able to take on utter powerlessness because He knew that He was cared for by the Father.

I’m seeing my place in things. I’m seeing that my questioning, like Zechariah’s becomes embarrassingly ego centric in light of what comes next.

In waiting for the baby we can start to see who we are and who God is.

Hope. Lights in the darkness.


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