Advent 2 – Peace Prepared

I have felt anything but prepared this season, anything but peace.  I feel like I have been drowning in merry and bright.  There have been mornings these past few weeks where pulling the blanket over my head has been the only solution that I could find, an escape from feeling trapped in the hustle and bustle.

I am shocked by this, shocked by my disinterest.   Shocked even more so by my apparent disbelief.  Why is it so hard for me to believe that God is I AM?   Why is it so hard for me to accept His Word, His promises? 

Why do I, this advent season, find myself full of Zechariah disbelief?

Imagine a man, from a long line of men, a long line of priests, a man whose destiny, whose righteous steps, were ordered and set before him like a path, just imagine. 

Imagine a man, who dedicated his life to priesthood, to a believing that there was more to his life than himself.  Imagine a man who knelt beside his wife, both of whom “were righteous in God’s eyes” (Luke 1:6), day after day and begged and pleaded with God to water their bareness, to make fertile their wilderness.  Imagine the tears that fell, and the heartbreak that he must have endured when year after year, day after day, hour after hour the clock of his life ticked by.   Imagine coming to the realization that all of what you had hoped was not meant to be because the ravages of time had dried up any possibility of a child.  Imagine, despite all of that, entering into the temple of God day after day and offering up a sweet sacrifice to Him whom you have dedicated your life and committed to serve.

Is it any surprise then, any surprise at all, that when Gabriel  descended as fire lit the incense to tell him that God had heard their prayers, their heart’s beat, that Zechariah’s  first thought, first recourse, was that of disbelief? 

Right there in all of that disbelief God held Zechariah’s tongue, held him silent.   And I wonder, did Zechariah take advantage of this “be still and know” time in his life? Did he take time in his silence and seek Him, truly seek Him in the quiet?  I have felt God whisper to me “Be still… be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I have felt this stirring in my heart.

I have heard this and yet I still feel as if I am on a path to nowhere and frustration, it grates rough on my conscience and I cannot fathom that I will ever see the heights of peaks in my lowest of valleys.

And then I think of Zechariah and his forced silence, God closing his mouth so that he can prepare, prepare his heart for the arrival of his son, John. 

The son who would prepare a way for The Son.

The man who would fulfill the prophecies of old and prepare for the coming of the Christ.

I take comfort in this.  Take comfort in knowing that God has prepared a way.  Even these past few weeks as depression has reared its ugly head and the voices of doubt and inadequacy screech and claw their way through my tenuous hold on joy, I take comfort in knowing there is a path, there is a plan and it has been prepared.

“Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wildernessfor the Lord!Make a straight highway through the wastelandfor our God!  Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills.  Straighten the curves,and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.  The Lord has spoken!   (Isaiah 40: 3-5)”

The rough and crooked places, the curves and the lowest valley, they will be made straight.  And even though I am bone tired I will trust in His promises.  “But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.  The will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31)

I will wait and prepare for peace.

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