November 19, 2012
“.. they were childless because Elizabeth could never conceive, and now they were quite old. .. It wasn’t long before Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy.” Luke 1: 5-7, 23-25 The Message
It wasn’t supposed to happen. She was too old. She was past her prime. Some would go so far to say it couldn’t happen at her age. Her body was theologically fruitless. She had probably even quit praying about it. And then it happened: she became pregnant. A life was growing inside. God couldn’t have picked a more scandalous beginning. An old priest serving out his life, coming home every night to a wife he loved sharing the faded dreams of having a family. It is noted in a single line that they were a “righteous couple” .. “enjoying a clear conscience before God”. God doesn’t guarantee every dream we’ve shared or every hope we pursue. We often think that if we live a certain way or “do” enough in His eyes that he will come through. Fortunately, the faith that is birthed through Christ doesn’t come with those strings attached. It arrives with God’s faithfulness and his covenant promises of who He is .. and who He will be to everyone who places their trust in Him. That trust comes in all shapes and sizes .. all kinds of circumstances .. and all kinds of day to day outcomes. Maybe you’ve walked through a long period of “fruitlessness” wondering if God has given up or if you’ve used up whatever resources He has given you. Maybe you’ve even lived under the oppression of bearing much fruit in your life and you’ve tied all of that into how well you’ve served God .. or prayed .. or shared with others. Will He take it all away if you fail to perform at the same levels? The beginning of this Gospel Scandal that claims your life begins with an old couple finishing up their working years and find their lives turned upside down in a ministry they never imagined or could ever conceive on their own. What happened to Elizabeth was unbelievable. She was an “old woman” by Zachariah’s description. God told him his prayer had been heard. (Do you wonder if he had prayed for a child in years?) What is God forming from all the prayers of your life? Because God’s Gospel Scandal takes in your whole life. In Jesus you’ve placed your life in the faith of the God who dwells with us .. now in us .. and through us in the unbelievable gift of grace. And today … it only takes a moment ..
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent M-F to Scandalous Followers of Jesus and friends of Priority One (firstname.lastname@example.org)