What’s Your Hashtag?
I recently asked my friends on social media for a hashtag that describes their year:
#breakthrough #extramile #renew #transitions #clarity #selfawareness #redirection #grace #stronger #rollercoaster #finishingstrong #whateverittakes
There was probably some looking back and reminiscing in the past 12 months before my friends got to come up with these hashtags. There was some recalling of how they cried, fought, thrived, struggled, and braved through this year’s storms. A hashtag or two is definitely not enough but I believe it covered most of their highlights (or lowlights) from it. Life is not easy. That’s a given. No matter how ready you think you are, trials will come, and tears will fall.
Life is not easy. No matter how ready you think you are,
trials will come, and tears will fall.
I see people posting online, craving, praying for a plot twist to happen in their lives that will turn their year from the bottom up. Maybe they feel like the year was full of defeats more than victories, sorrow more than joy, and bitterness more than love. Maybe they feel like the year hasn’t been good enough and they’re waiting, and hoping for a miracle.
I don’t know how your year went. I don’t know if your highs outnumbered your lows or if your lows were more than your highs. I don’t know where you are right now as this year’s about to end. Are you happy? Are you in pain? Are you still in the same place as you were since the year started?
In the Middle of Your “Buts”
Zechariah and Elizabeth, parents of John the Baptist, and relatives of Mary, were described to be “righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.” (Luke 1:6). Zechariah was a priest, and he faithfully served God. Surely, Elizabeth honored God in her own way, too. Their lives looked perfectly fine until you’ll see a “but” in the following verse:
“But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren,
and both were advanced in years.” – Luke 1:7 ESV
Zechariah was a man of God. Elizabeth was a woman of God. And yet, they had no child. Ever since they got married, they were probably praying long and praying hard for a miracle. That maybe God would be gracious enough to hear them and grant them a child. But it’s been years… They’ve grown old and tired. Elizabeth was barren, too… So, what are the odds of getting pregnant at this time, right? It must have been painful for them — that in their faithfulness to the Lord, the desire of their hearts has not been given. It must have been painful for them to answer to the people questioning them why they never had a child all these years. Take a look at your life this year. Perhaps everything looked perfectly fine at first. Until a “but” showed up…
But you are still in school and everybody else is graduating and looking for jobs.
But you are still single and everybody else is getting into relationships and marriages.
But you are still childless and everybody else is pressuring you to get pregnant already.
But you are still unemployed and you are worried about where you’ll be in the future.
But a family member is still sick and they’re not getting any better.
But your parents are still fighting and it breaks you even more.
But this… But that… It must have been painful to pray and wait without having to see a tinge of hope, huh? It must have been painful to answer to the people questioning you why your prayers haven’t been granted yet all this time… But you know what? Even in the middle of Zechariah’s unanswered prayers, he continued to fulfill his duties as a priest. He continued to serve God not as a means to get something from Him but as a means to get closer to Him. While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel appeared to Him and gave him the news he has always wanted to hear:
“Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth…” – Luke 1:13-14 ESV
Even in the middle of your unanswered prayers, you can continue to serve God not as a means to get something from Him, but as a means to get closer to Him.
He Always Hears
You may not be old and married and barren like Elizabeth and Zechariah, but you must have grown spiritually old, tired, and barren after months and years of praying and waiting. Maybe you have started to give up on your prayers thinking that the chances of it getting answered are now slim. But I want to encourage you, love, just like Zechariah and Elizabeth, to press on and continue in your faithfulness to God. Not because He will eventually pity you because of your “hard work” but simply because He knows, He hears, and He answers (Luke 1:13-14). God met Zechariah in the middle of his assignment.
Press on and to continue in your faithfulness to God because He knows, He hears, and He answers. God will meet you in the middle of your assignment.
Elizabeth did become pregnant and she did give birth to John, the man who prepared the way for Jesus. As we read along, we’ll discover that the answer to Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers came with a promise and with a purpose.
“You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord… And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.” – Luke 1:14-16 NLT
The answer to their prayer will bring them joy and gladness. The answer to their prayer will bring people to the Lord. In this story we can see that God always specializes in the impossible. What seems to you as too early or too late is always an “on time” for Him.
God’s answers to your prayers will come with a promise and with a purpose. He always specializes in the impossible. What seems to you as too early or too late is always an “on time” for Him.
The Greatest Plot Twist
The news of Zechariah and Elizabeth having a child were but a glimpse of the greatest plot twist that ever occurred in the history of mankind. While the couple were old, their relative Mary was young. She was not yet married, and she was a virgin. An angel appeared to her, too, six months after Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Luke 1:26-34), announcing that she will bear the Son of God — Lord, King, and “God with us”. It was a surprising and unexpected circumstance for someone who’s engaged to be married, but because God’s ways have always been higher than ours, He knew what He was doing. Mary did not need a baby at that time, but she and the world unquestionably needed a Savior. And as always, God arrived just in time.
God’s ways have always been higher than ours, He knows what He’s doing. Mary did not need a baby at that time, but she and the world unquestionably needed a Savior. And as always, God arrived just in time.
Love, God knows what you need more than you do. The things you want and the things you think you need now may not just what God considers to be good for you. You may be ending this year with a sad, weary, and hopeless heart because of all the “buts” that turned up. Nevertheless, the reality that Jesus came for you means that He cares for you. He is not a God that abandons. He came when everything seems hopeless, when everything grew dark, and when the lost never found its way back. He came to heal, to restore, to redeem, and to set free.
The reality that Jesus came for you means that He cares for you.
He is not a God that abandons. He came when everything seems hopeless,
when everything grew dark, and when the lost never found its way back.
Just because you don’t see your breakthroughs yet doesn’t mean that they won’t ever come. Let me assure you that your story’s already been written by the greatest author of all time, the Author of Life. What seems like a dead end and a blank page to you is actually a meaningful, and purposeful chapter that’s about to unfold in the next days, weeks, months, and years.
Just because you don’t see your breakthroughs yet
doesn’t mean that they won’t ever come. What seems like a dead end and a blank page to you is actually a meaningful, and purposeful chapter that’s about to unfold in the next days, weeks, months, and years.
God’s not yet done with you, love. He always works everything together for good to those who love Him, and to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). He will answer your prayers in time. And He will bring with it a promise and a purpose. So, instead of dreading about your blank pages, I pray that you will find God as the ultimate plot twist of your life. Believe that He is far more precious than any breakthrough that He could ever give you.
God’s not yet done with you. He will answer your prayers in time. And He will bring with it a promise and a purpose.
P.S. I’m trying something new for my entries. Will put related songs that you could listen to after you finish reading. Think of it as a time of reflection, meditation, and prayer. 🙂 (I’ve put them in a playlist if you want to find them in one place). It is my prayer that God will speak and minister to you through these words and through music. He loves you that much! Happy New Year!