Published in Christian Today Australia, May 22, 2018
Driving on a road I knew well, I had typed a location into my maps app. The street I was looking for wasn’t far, but I had just never needed to find it before.
The good old maps app took me on a detour. It wasn’t the fastest way to my destination and when I came out of the unnecessary loop it took me on, I couldn’t help but feel a little frustrated. I could have saved some time if I’d just stayed on the road I was already on and instead of taking a detour to the left, I could have just turned right at the next round about.
Thankfully God’s road map is accurate. But sometimes we feel like we’ve been taken on a detour and our destination is taking much longer than we anticipate. We can see the outcome we would like, but we can’t see the purpose along the way.
Ever felt like that? Ever felt like if you could just take the reigns, you’d get the job done faster?
A bigger plan
In Luke chapter 1, we read how Elizabeth had had a life-long desire to have a child. Though it seemed like an easy thing for the women around her throughout her life-time, for Elizabeth, it was something that just wasn’t looking like it was ever going to happen.
The strain of not being able to have a baby may have been hard to understand for those who knew them too. Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous people who trusted in and pleased the Lord despite their life-long heartache. Elizabeth’s father had been a priest and she was also married to a priest. Her family would have been highly esteemed in her community.
However, it did not seem to matter how righteous this couple was. The burden they bore of being childless had taken such a toll on them that when Zechariah was face to face with the archangel Gabriel, he was hesitant to believe that their prayer was about to be answered.
‘Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” —Luke chapter 1, verse 18
The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”’
God is faithful
God had always planned for Zechariah and Elizabeth to bear a son, and their son was to be a very special child with powers and influence not seen since the prophet Elijah. John was to be a prophet of the Most High who would prepare the way for the most important visitor the earth had ever encountered—Jesus Christ.
You see, God had a plan all along. If Elizabeth had born children in her younger years, there would be nothing to make this child stand out as being different from the others. The miracle of this baby being born in Elizabeth’s old age, was striking. The timing was impeccable, occurring six months prior to his cousin Jesus being born. The outcome was astounding when Zechariah was released from his muteness right after announcing through writing that his son would be called John.
‘He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbours were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.’ —Luke chapter 1 verses 63-66
All these things together are what caused the people to stop and acknowledge that this was purposed from God, that this child was set apart.
God’s detours are blessings in disguise
God is not slow to keep his promises. He is perfect in keeping his promises, right down to the last minute. We didn’t write this book, but if we’re willing and trusting, we get to be a purposeful character in it. And if God wants to take us on what looks like a detour, we know it’s going to be a very purposeful detour which will deliver us to a perfect destination. Then we will marvel at the power and the very perfect timing of our very awesome God.
“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” —Luke chapter 1 verses 36-37
Rebecca Moore 2018 ©