Read: Luke 1
Out of Great Hopelessness
This week, our story opens with a priest named Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. They were righteous and perfectly obedient to the Law. However, they carried the cultural shame of being childless. And there was no hope in sight, as they were very old.
Zechariah and Elizabeth have a story similar to another older couple in Scripture. Abraham and Sarah were childless until the Lord miraculously intervened (Genesis 21:1-2). Both couples were promised that their babies would prepare the way for Jesus’ coming to earth. And it’s true what the angel Gabriel said: “Nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
Hope Despite Suffering
Perhaps you or someone you know has struggled with infertility. There are so many questions when a couple’s desire for a child isn’t fulfilled. It’s such a hard place to be when we don’t have the answers. But we can still trust that God’s character is good. And we can still believe He is sovereign and all-powerful. Even while wondering why He allows suffering in our lives.
Take a minute and read Romans 5:1-5. This passage of Scripture helps us to wrestle with our big questions. We read that God makes us right with Him through our faith in Jesus. After all, our hope is in His name. So, our hope is secure—not on what we have done, but on what Christ has done for us! But then, we see something strange. The Apostle Paul tells us to boast even in our suffering. Why would we do that? Why not, as Job’s wife suggested, simply “curse God and die” (Job 2:9)?
Purpose in The Pain
We are promised that suffering has a beautiful purpose. It produces endurance. And endurance produces character. And our character produces hope. We can have confidence that the God who loves us has a plan for our lives. And His plan is good. In heaven, “[God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). We can hold the hope of heaven right now and use it as an anchor (Hebrews 6:19). So, despite whatever suffering the Lord allows in this lifetime, it will seem light and momentary compared to the eternal weight of God’s glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The Promise of Hope
So, where are you placing your hope today? If it’s focused on someone or something in this life, it’s possible that you will suffer from disappointment. But if you put your hope in Jesus, His hope will never disappoint. Our hope is in His name alone. One day, we will all be able to join Elizabeth in saying, “The Lord has done this for me,” when He takes away all our shame once and for all (Luke 1:25). Until then, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, whose incredible and miraculous birth we celebrate this Christmas.
Come, Lord Jesus. We wait for you with great hope.