And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard ...." (Luke 1:11-13a)
It must have been rough for Zechariah. For years and years he and his wife had been praying for a child. But the years went by, in a house that was quieter than it should have been, two people growing old together. Nothing ever changed.
Until it did. Bang! And there's an angel standing in front of Zechariah. "Don't be afraid," he says. "God has heard your prayer. And here's what's going to happen next!"
Zechariah's life was turned upside down. No more quiet. No more sadness and resignation. Instead, a baby—a son—the forerunner to the Messiah!
"Don't be afraid," the angel said. I think Zechariah must have needed those words. I know I do, when my life changes suddenly—even for good things. Don't be afraid! God has not forgotten you. He has heard your prayers, and He is in control, and He is doing something wonderful.
Is there something in your own life that is changing, either for good or for ill? God is still with you in the middle of it. He will not leave you alone. His very Name is Immanuel, "God-with-us."
No wonder Paul could write, "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:31-32, 37-39).
THE PRAYER: Lord, help me to face change knowing that You hold me safely in Your hands. Amen.
* Do you tend to be someone who likes change, or who resists it?
* What is changing in your life right now? How do you feel about it?
* Tell about a time when Jesus helped you deal with a difficult change.
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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