"God Whose Timing Is Perfect" By Kate Foster
In the days leading up to the birth of Christ, we see His hand in the details; His specialty in the unexpected. The Savior High willing to make Himself low, for us. We often look for God in the things that feel like Him. But miracles aren't possible in the things that make sense... Miracles are found in the impossible... the "too lates" or the "too earlys" the barrenness and the inability. Impossible places show His hand impeccably.
In this season of Christmas, we reflect on His coming. Let's look for the preparation for His coming in Luke 1.
Meet Elizabeth. Well established in years, married to a man in ministry. She had never been able to conceive a child and she deeply felt the reproach that accompanied her barren life. Her Empty and quiet home a reflection of her empty and quiet womb. And yet, it is recorded that her inability to bear fruit didn't disqualify her from a fruitful life.
"And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."
Barren yet blameless. Was it easy?! I'm sure it wasn't. In a society where children were viewed as the blessing of God on one's life, in a woman where nurturing and child-rearing are a natural bend, I can guarantee it was not. This was the cup set before her, and yet the Bible records that her barren womb didn't make her bitter. She was righteous before her God. Barren yet fruitful.
When the angel Michael came to her husband Zacharias to tell him of the child that would be added to their household, a child who would prepare the way before the Savior, Michael declared, "Your prayer has been HEARD."
Do you think Zacharias scoffed? "My prayers have been heard?!" The prayers of a young man pleading for legacy. The prayers of a young woman begging for new life. Was he tempted to shout back, "Too late!"? Was he thinking of those prayers of years past when he responded, "Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well-stricken in years." Too late? No. God's ways are so much higher.
A mere 6 months later, we see a girl named Mary. Young, inexperienced, a virgin anticipating her upcoming wedding. We don't know much about her. There is no bloodline mentioned, there is no familial history recorded. I'm unsure of siblings or family dynamics, but we do know one thing, she was an impossible situation that God saw as the perfect scenario.
The angel Michael came to her and said,
"Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS."
She asked, "How shall this be for I have not known a man?"
And Michael said, "For with God nothing shall be impossible."
A baby out of the the bounds of nature and biology? A baby before the union of relationship? Too soon? I wonder if when the first signs of life appeared, she worried about her inexperience and ability to raise such a child. Did she worry all this responsibility was just too much. “God is this too soon?!” No. God is greater than impossible situations.
One chapter. 2 stories.
One child delivered years "late" to arrive perfectly on time to prepare the Messiah's way.
Another Child who came before relations, before physical contact, before the legal binding of marriage. Miraculously born in time to save the world.
In the delayed and in the premature, God's timing is never flawed.
What in your life seems past new life? A prodigal child who seems too far gone? A marriage in shambles with one side no longer desiring reconciliation? Keep praying. We know from Elisabeth that God HEARS even if His response is on an eternal timetable. His sovereignty is much grander than just our one life. He is weaving the story of generations. And yet, He manages to orchestrate the timelines of humanity simultaneously while being 100% in tune with you. He sees, He is near, He is constant. He can be trusted. Don't give up your prayers because the door feels shut. New life can grow in barren places.
Or maybe you find yourself handed something that feels prematurely timed? A "too soon" cancer diagnosis that interrupts everything? A "too soon" responsibility handed down that feels beyond your abilities? A child lost out of natural order, a young spouse gone before they've had time to age? We know from Mary that God will equip you for what you face. There is nothing that comes as a surprise to God. He sees your before, your now, and He sees where this all leads. He hems you in. Surrounds you. He will daily load you up with benefits (Ps. 68:19), will give you new mercy each morning (Lam. 3:22). He can sustain you (Ps. 55:22). Redemption can be born in impossible places.
In all this uncertainty and tumult, we can remember that Jesus also was born in an uncertain and tumultuous time. He doesn't run from the worlds chaos. He runs to it. He comes and enters in. Emmanuel, God WITH us.
Rejoice weary world, He's here.
ARH Staff Writer
"For with God nothing shall be impossible."
Luke 1:37 KJV