Bad Day, Good Decade

What you do each day is important, but sometimes, it is the long trend that is the better measure of our hearts. Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, is a great example.

I often beat myself up for bad attitudes and the stupid mistakes I make. Sometimes, I can recover by saying, "well, the rest of the day has been ok." But what happens when it hasn't? What happens when your "rough patch" has been months? In that case, it might be better to measure your decades.

This past month was one of those rough patches. I was sick for most of it, overwhelmed for about all of it. I got my work done, but little else. I kept my attitude right, most of the time.

I think this kind of human mix is what I love about the story of Zacharias. Luke 1:6 describes him as a righteous man who walked in obedience to God. Verse 7 says that he and his wife had lived through a very long trial: they had no children in an era when children mean future security and present respect within the community. Verse 8 says that even though Zacharias was quite old, he was still working, still doing his priestly duty. So, measured in decades, it was a good life.

But I wonder how it felt for those long 9 months when, after doubting and challenging God's angel, Zacharias sat unable to speak? I wonder how he felt about his status before God, his worthiness as God's servant or his ability to be a good father and good husband? Taking just a recent snapshot would not have given him much hope.

God, fortunately, does not look at us through such a petty evaluation system. His love is the complex love of a good father, full of hope, honesty and always looking after our best interests. He sent his one and only begotten son so that our own standing as adopted children could be guaranteed and sends the Holy Spirit so that our growth into people worthy of such a calling can be empowered.

Yes, God is in it for the long haul, so whether you are having a bad moment or a much longer bad season, have hope!

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