LUKE’S CHRISTMAS GOSPEL OF JESUS: A 30-Day Christmas-Time Devotional.
Our Unfortunate Condition.
Luke 1: 19-25 (MsgB)
 But the angel said, “I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news.  But because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true on time—God’s time.”  Meanwhile, the congregation waiting for Zachariah was getting restless, wondering what was keeping him so long in the sanctuary.  When he came out and couldn’t speak, they knew he had seen a vision. He continued speechless and had to use sign language with the people.  When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home.  It wasn’t long before his wife, Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy.  “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!” she said.
In all truthfulness, even on our best days, when everything is going well and life is a peach, we human beings, when left to our own devices, are all in ‘unfortunate conditions.’
Life can be a pain. Have you noticed?
Full of hurts, wounds, and dysfunctions. Death and disappointment. Betrayal and pain.
Oh yes, we can try our best to put on a good front, paste a plastic smile on our face, but truthfully, despite even our best efforts, life has its share of ‘unfortunate conditions.’
And, as long as I’m on that subject. Not only does life really stink sometimes, it just doesn’t seem to be fair either! I mean, you’d think if there was a good God in heaven, the bad people would be the ones getting the short end of the stick. Right?
But no! It seems sometimes that’s there’s enough ‘unfortunate conditions’ to go around down here on planet earth that even us good folks get our stinking share of hard knocks! So what’s the deal with that? Huh, God? Where’s the fairness?
Well, I guess that’s enough venting for now. Besides, you aren’t reading this blog to hear me spout off about my problems. You must have plenty of your own to complain about.
So, back to Luke’s writings.
For Elizabeth, the ‘unfortunate condition’ was a life-long barrenness. No children. No family. Nothing but ‘unfortunate conditions’ for years. Now, for an old woman with creaky old bones, the hope for a child growing in her womb was so distant, not even the religion she served so faithfully was able to soothe the permanent pain of her ‘unfortunate condition.’
Now some of us, living in a more equal-opportunity society, would counsel Elizabeth: “Just suck it up, girl! Forget this havin’ a kid thing and get on with your life!”
But we forget. In a society where women are already second-class citizens, an old woman like Elizabeth, who could bear no children for her husband or her community, was just about as valuable as a lame donkey. An ‘unfortunate condition,’ indeed!
So here, right in the midst of Elizabeth’s forgotten life, this seemingly distant God suddenly intervenes! With an unexpected angelic visitation, this caring God does something amazing to ‘remedy’ Elizabeth’s long-standing ‘unfortunate condition!’ Suddenly, a very old woman gets very pregnant! A baby is conceived. And this one isn’t due to Viagra or artificial insemination. This is a God-breathed miracle. Two old farts with one withered-up sex life get the shock of a lifetime! A baby is on the way!
So, in place of rocking chairs and retirement, out comes a crib and baby blankets!
Fresh new life is intercepting old, dried up bones.
Amazing what God can do when He decides to act, remedying our ‘unfortunate conditions” in ways we just can’t imagine!
My prayer: Lord, sometimes I forget how miserably wretched our human existence can be without the healing restoration and new life that comes from You, through the in-breaking power and presence of Your Kingdom. Thank You for the powerful miracle You gave to Elizabeth and Zachariah, a ‘sign’ of Your undying love and blessings for all of us. May we never become so brittle and dry that we forget how powerful You are to remedy our ‘unfortunate conditions.’ For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What ‘unfortunate conditions’ have been my lot over the years? Have I given up hope, assuming the Lord doesn’t care or doesn’t choose to act to remedy my pain? Am I open to the Lord’s surprising miracles that only He can do in addressing my past hurts, wounds and dysfunctions which have come through life’s difficult issues?
So what is God speaking to you today? Are you practicing the Kingdom presence of God?
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