Angels and Us

Sometimes stories in the Bible remind me of how we are as a people. I’ve been reading the story of Zechariah lately – the Father of John the Baptist.  The encounter with the angel is fascinating – as I wonder how I would react.

Angels – our society often presents them as cute and fuzzy – these beautiful things.  But why then often are the first words out of the angel’s mouth: ‘Do not be afraid’.  I wonder if instead they are majestic and frightening creatures – not cute.  I wonder if they invoke fear because the glory of God shines through them.   I would be speechless and shaking at my knees if I encountered one.

What I find interesting is the context – where Zechariah was.  I’ve always known he was at the temple – but my 20th century eyes see this as just going to church.  But this was different – far more significant.

Zechariah was a priest – but he didn’t serve at the temple every day. His order only served at the one temple twice a year.  But what is amazing to me that him burning the incense – that may have been the only time in his life for that to happen (per my Study Bible).

So this moment is charged with Special significance.  It was a moment of heightened focus on God – the Almighty God at the only Temple.  Then the angel appears and throws everything off kilter (how dare God interfere with our worship of him!).

And then the Angel says-  you’re going to have a child – something he’s hoped and longed for but likely had given up on.  And he has such a human response: ‘How can this be?’  And the Angel’s response is classic: I’m an angel.

So put yourself in this situation – it’s likely the highest moment of spiritual expectancy in his life.  And even in that moment he stil doubts – still has a hard time believing God’s audacious promise to him.

So how like us is this – that we hope and long for God in our lives – but can’t deal with it when he shows up. He appeared late in Zechariah’s life – likely after he had given up on having a child.  But God remembered, God heard his prayer.

God acts in his own timing, in his own way.  So am I OK with this?  Do I acknowledge what God has done in my life? Or am I stuck in what is going on now – stuck with my human expectations of life – of what can’t be.

Many of us will never have an Angel appear to us like that – but we will see the work of God in our lives.  So will you acknowledge? Will you trust?

God help us to trust and know you..


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