But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared." (Luke 1:13-17)
Listen to the way the angel describes John's future! He focuses on the good, wonderful things. It's so much better than saying, "Your son is going to live out in the desert eating bugs and get killed by an evil king."
Both futures are equally true, aren't they? All of those things did happen to John. And yet God focuses on the blessing.
Why? Partly out of mercy, to avoid distressing John's parents, I think. But there's another reason, too. God is looking at what John's suffering will buy. The suffering passes; the blessing remains forever.
And this is no surprise, for John serves our Savior Jesus, who "for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2b). His suffering became our blessing.
THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for what Your suffering has bought us. Amen.
* If you love a baby, would you want to know that child's future?
* Are there events in your life your parents would have wished not to know about?
* When has God brought good out of your suffering?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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