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He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:16-17, NIV
An angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah and foretold the birth of John the Baptist. The angel told him the great things John would do and that John would be the forerunner of the Messiah.
As you know, Zechariah was doubtful. How could his barren wife have a child in her old age? Why would they be chosen for such a great honour? It was overwhelming…unbelievable… Still he had nine months of silence to think it over and realize that it was true…all of it. When John was born, Zechariah gave an amazing prophetic utterance.
What expectations do you think Zechariah had for John? Zechariah was a priest. He ministered in the Temple on occasion and in his local town. He knew the prophecies of the Messiah…as did every Jew. Surely his son would follow him into the priesthood and perhaps rise to a position of power and authority. How else could he reveal the Messiah to the nation? It all made sense. He had great expectations for his son. It was a dream come true…
What do you think Zechariah and Elizabeth felt like when their dream began to go wrong and their expectations for their son seemed disappointed. John had no interest in the priesthood. He wasn't even a very sociable character. He was a loner going out into the desert more and more the older he got. He wore strange clothes and ate strange food. What was up with this kid? Didn't he know the call of God was on his life? Didn't he care about the prophecies? How was God going work all this out or had His plan failed?
We all have a dreams and our preconceived ideas of how things should work out. Maybe we have even had a word of prophecy over our lives. The danger is that we see the end goal God has, but we are closed-minded as to how God is going to achieve it. We know our plan simply has to be the best. After all, its the only one that makes sense!
Let us pursue whole-heartedly what Jesus has for us, but let us keep an open mind as to how He is going to achieve it. Sometimes what looks like failures to us [think of the Cross] are actually God's pathway to success. This applies not only to our lives, but also to the lives of those we love. No matter what Zechariah and Elizabeth thought about their son's choices, they had learned to trust God enough to let Him work it out. It can be painful to watch others going in paths we don't understand or approve of, but we just love them anyway.
Don't be afraid to reach out for a new adventure in Jesus. You may know where you will end up, but you may not see the path to get there. One thing is for sure: God's plans are always better in the end!