Why you don’t need to be afraid anymore…


Every year, I avoided a certain appointment. I wanted to know about it, but I didn’t want to be there for it.  I panicked and my heart did funny things.

My heart raced and I couldn’t sleep for weeks leading up to the appointment. It consumed my waking thoughts and disturbed my sleep. I couldn’t seem to accomplish anything except worry.

Psalm 112:7 snapped me out of my funk: “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” I feared bad news. My heart wanted to be steadfast and it wanted to trust, but it struggled.

I’ve been exploring the concept of security in Christ and Psalm 112:7 could fit in with the next three verses used to assure us of security in an insecure world.

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his sear of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 1 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21 NIV

Psalm 112:7, along with these three verses, may have penetrated the hard shell of fear around my heart, but I still struggled with the cycle of worry and lack of sleep.

I laid wide awake, listening to the creaky bones of an old farmhouse. The furnace cycled on and then off trying heat the drafty rooms. The water softener’s recycle echoed through the register vents. I listened to the coyote’s song and watched the red numbers on the digital clock creep their way to morning night after night.

I treated this event with the same intensity as Chicken Little in the children’s story who decided the sky must be falling when a single acorn hit him on the head. I laughed at the foolishness of Chicken Little, but when I became Chicken Little, I didn’t laugh.  This appointment was an acorn, not the sky, but I treated it as though the sky was falling. It was completely and utterly ridiculous and I knew it.

I knew my angst over this situation and I knew the word of God, but the battle within my heart raged and rarely did the word of God win. I said I trusted God, but my actions and my words did not jive.

I felt the truth God’s word strike me in such a way that my ‘sky is falling’ perspective fell from the sky and lay shattered at my feet.

My security is not found in the outcome of appointments, good health, or financial freedom. It’s found in my one true King. Your security is found there as well. He is trustworthy. He is secure.

When he is our rock, we can trust that he is working things out. He views a much larger picture, and we don’t need to see the entire picture in order to trust him. He is our security.

My circumstances do not establish me. God establishes me. He takes this wretched fear-filled heart and fills me with anointing. He anoints you as well. He calls you beloved and he lays before you the task to trust him.  We need his anointing to do this well. It’s impossible to trust well without his love coursing over and through us. If I don’t have his anointing, then my fear, anxiety and worry overtakes the goodness he longs to do in me and through me.

Our failures do not adversely affect our security because I know that God will complete the good work he began. He is the one who saves. He is the one who sets our feet on the solid rock. He is the one who rescues, redeems and gives a purpose for this life. And if he is the one who does the beginning, then he will do the middle, and he will do the completing.

We need only to submit, surrender, and obey.  He is our everything. He is love. He is the beginning, the middle, and the end. This gives us the security we need to face those hard days when we are not trusting him well.  It’s the security we need when we’re overtaken by angst on the parts of our story yet to be.

The sky is not falling. I can never recover those sleepless nights because the worry didn’t change the outcome. The fear of what might be was greater than reality, but I couldn’t see it at the time. Irrational fear overtook me in the face of our annual tax appointment.  Yes, my friends, it was a measly tax appointment that was the acorn in my Chicken Little Story.

In my mind, this acorn held my hopes for security, but that’s not an acorn’s job. An acorn’s job is to grow a tree and God used this ‘acorn’ to grow faith in my heart as I transferred my security from a circumstance to him.

What is the acorn that has fallen that makes you cry out, ‘The sky is falling!’ Will you let God show you where your security lies and how he can turn your acorn into faith that your security is in him?



how to trade your insecurity for lasting security


Who am I? Who are you? The easy answer can be found on the ID we each carry around in our wallets, but the deeper answer is more difficult to flesh out. I know at my core I struggle with my identity. I look at myself in the mirror and see a woman staring back at me, but what I see are the hurts and beliefs that I wrestle everyday with because my life–this life–is about God and how he wants me to live not about the effects of my youth that created this uneasy sense of wondering ‘who am I?’

For the last few weeks I’ve challenged my own self-perceptions, sense of belonging and confidence within the context of God’s word and I hope you’ve been challenged as well. Today begins a tackling of another subject–one I’d rather avoid if I’m being completely honest, but needing to address: Security.

My security is not found in my ability to perform because I’ve learned that performance and abilities can fail.  My security is not in my reputation even though my reputation is important.  My security is not in the type of family I come from, my heritage, or my pocketbook, which is a relief because I’m a melting pot of nationalities and my pocket book is usually empty.

The temptation to place my security in temporal things is strong because these are things I can see and gauge and prove to myself that I’m worth something. It’s the compare and contrast thing we do with each other: ‘How am I better than so and so and how am I worse than so and so?’ and so my security rises and lowers based on where the comparison needle lands.

But it’s exhausting, you know? When my security is placed in my own ability or in someone else’s ability, I weave and bob on a floating log in an uncertain river. I go under gasping for breath and come up soaked and shivering, but still clinging to the things that I think will provide my security: performance, people, and pocket money.

I’m learning through mistakes and moments of humility that security has nothing to do with me or with you, but God himself.

What he says about me is more important than how I feel about myself. He says that in Christ, I am chosen, adopted, rescued, complete, and given access to him. This doesn’t change based on the day when I have it all together and I’m rocking the day or the day when I have one giant fail after another.

He says I’m secure in him and this doesn’t change if I have a poor performance, disappoint people, or lost my pocket money. He is the ultimate in security. But how do we begin transferring our misplacement of security in ourselves, and other people to the King of kings and Lord of lords?

It’s allowing three key truths to take root in our heart and allowed to grow.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“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 8:38-39

Satan loves nothing more than to throw my sin in my face and remind me of the shame of it. God says that since I am in Christ Jesus then I’m set free from my sin and I am free to live by him and for him. My security is in knowing that I’m free from the law of sin and death and set free in the law of the Spirit of life.

Life is hard. It just is. There’s pain, cancer, miscarriages, stillborns, death of a loved one, divorce, abuse, or addictions. And sometimes the hard is something we have to face every day and sometimes it’s a memory that lives as though it is our present. Somedays it’s hard to look past our pain to see the possibilities of what is.

And what is is this: you love God, respond to his call and he works things together for good. This concept only works when we frame it with our love and response to what God is wanting to do with our junk. My security lies in trusting God that he will turn my pain into beauty.  I have to look at pain or fear or whatever in the eye and trust God with it and as he works in my heart, my insecurity is traded for security.

To understand the depth of God’s love for us can be one of the greatest obstacles to our security in Christ. Our hearts are prone to cynicism. Our minds towards doubt. We want proof and too often life proves that love is expendable. So to wrap our minds around the concept that nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus can feel impossible.

 But what if we tried? What if you and I declared that no matter what happens tomorrow at that doctor’s appointment that we will still believe God loves us? What if you and I declared that no matter who wins the presidential election that we will not be separated from the love of God? What if you and I declared that no matter how much pain we are currently experiencing in our private lives that God’s love is still deep and wide?

What would our acceptance of God’s love look like if we separated our circumstances from God’s love for us? It would look a lot like security.

confidence or confident?



It’s what I long for, and it’s what you long for. I also withhold it from others and myself and so do you.

I’ve been wrestling with my acceptance in Christ because there’s a part I play in it as well: I have to accept what God says.

I can read his truth and his words, but if I don’t believe them, I’m still lost. There’s a difference between knowing truth and believing truth and it’s hard to believe the truth about acceptance.

When I refuse to accept the truth that God says I am set free from darkness, I stumble and fall even though light is nearby. When I refuse to accept redemption, I abdicate my inheritance of forgiveness. When I refuse to accept completeness in Christ, I give up confidence.

I once confessed my insecurity to a close friend and she sat open-mouthed and dared me to deny my statement. I couldn’t and she couldn’t believe it.

I’m good at playing the confident woman, but I shake in my boots and hide behind a smile and a sparkle. I don’t see what my friend sees. I see a messy-haired, scared little girl hoping to be accepted, but believing she won’t be and so I pretend. I pretend I’m full of confidence.  I pretend I know what I’m doing. But inside? On the inside I’m afraid you will find out the truth and reject me.

God gives me opportunity after opportunity to strip my confident façade away and fully embrace his acceptance of me because it is only when I rest in his acceptance of me that I am truly confident.

Confident that I’ve been rescued, redeemed, chosen, and given access to the throne room of God. Confidence based in my own ability is shaky and will crumble. It has crumbled. Each time I’m publicly humbled–whether it’s through an editing mistake in a published piece, or my vocals cracking as I lead worship, or singing the wrong lyric at the wrong time–I’m given the opportunity to understand what it’s like to be confident in him.

This past Sunday, as I led worship, I cued the band and the tech team to section three of our opening song. They did their part, but I didn’t. I sang something entirely different. The smiles and laughter in the tech team cued me of my screw up. While the band played their way through my fumbling, I smiled my way through, course corrected, and kept the focus on God.

A few years ago, I would have spent the afternoon berating myself over my ineptness-turning the focus on myself-rather than rejoicing in the ability to learn a lesson in humility and glory.

God doesn’t want to embarrass me, but if I’m prideful in an area, I will be humbled. My confidence should never be placed in my abilities because my abilities are not because of me, but in spite of me. My abilities are gifts from God to be used for him for his people. They have nothing to do with me. They are for his glory.

My confidence is directly related to how well I accept that God accepts me. When I don’t feel accepted, when I feel I’ve disappointed God, either over something little or that thing, like perfect, that keeps cropping up in my life, I reject myself, assuming that God rejects me as well.

I couldn’t be more wrong. He doesn’t reject. He accepts.

Our confidence for living this God-life is directly related to our embracing God’s acceptance of us.

If we embraced this truth, we would confidently leave our old lives behind and embrace the new. We would truly understand amazing grace that’s set our hearts free. We would love without strings. We would confidently walk in the forgiveness God offers rather than in the condemnation we offer ourselves.

Could you imagine the effect you would have in your life if you walked confidently into every situation confident not in your ability to perform, but confident that no matter what others think of you or what you think of yourself that God calls you accepted?

There just might be a revolution.

There would be a revolution in our churches because it wouldn’t be about us, but it would be about following the Holy Spirit wherever he leads.

Our homes and society would revolutionize themselves because our love for each other would flow from the belief that we’re accepted fully and completely by God. We would give our best knowing that God is pleased when we accept and love each other.

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14 ESV

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” Colossians 2:9-10 ESV

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

Confidence is directly related to our belief in God’s acceptance of us. We might struggle with accepting ourselves with all our flaws and mistakes, but God doesn’t. He offers us rescue, redemption, forgiveness, completeness, and access to the throne of God because he accepts us. This is who you are in Christ: accepted beloved one.

why yearning to belong is a gift and what you can do with it


Anyone who has played volleyball with me would agree: I spend more time ducking than I do spiking. They know I do not belong on any court involving a flying ball. I also don’t belong on a debate room floor as I stumble over my words and respond emotionally rather than logically. This is a type of belonging based on our strengths and interests and giftings, but there is another type of belonging. This other type of belonging resides in the heart of every man and woman and is the most difficult one to fulfill in our own strength and understanding.

I know what the unfulfilled yearning to belong feels like.  It feels like I’m gazing through a window at a party of people who belong, while I shiver, not just from the cold rain, but from a longing deep within to belong to something or someone where the warmth and love is evident.

In my vision, I see a smiling someone motioning me to come to the door and I see myself taking a few tentative steps towards the door, thinking ‘Could it be?’ ‘Is this the place for me?’ As I reach for the handle, I see my tattered sleeve and I halt. I’m ashamed of my state, the state that comes from the wear and tear of living life. I gaze into the window again and the welcoming glance turns into a questioning glance as I slowly back away, fighting tears, with heart breaking over the awareness that once again, I perceive I don’t belong.

This sense of not belonging haunts and taunts and I am not alone in experiencing this feeling. One mis-perception leads to another and so it is with the mis-perception of ‘I’m not good enough.’ Our faulty beliefs of ‘not enough’ feed the sense of ‘not belonging.’

This longing to belong is birthed by God in our spirit so that we will long to belong to him. This gift, left untended or rejected, produces an unhealthy search to find our sense of belonging in people, performance, and professions. 

The longing to be is a gift and the gift received is to belong.

“But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:17

When you respond to his call upon your hearts and say, ‘yes’ to his Lordship in your life you become unified with him. When all else falls apart and you are facing division in your personal life, you can know that your spirit is one with the Lord and be at peace. You belong to him.

“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you have been bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (emphasis mine)

You were bought at a price. God demonstrates the value he places on you through the cost of his Son’s sacrifice. You could argue that you are not worth a life, especially the life of God’s son, but your arguments have no bearing on the simple, profound, life-altering truth that you are treasured beyond measure. You are valuable. You belong.

“You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27

 There will be a place at the table, on the other side of the rain-splattered window, for you if you will say yes to the invitation and come in from the rain. As a member of the body of Christ, you are gifted with a purpose and this purpose is to encourage, love, serve, and pray for each other. It doesn’t take an extra-ordinary person to offer a smile, a hand, and a heart. It takes the extra-ordinary God whom you serve to work through you to fulfill his purpose in the body of Christ. You belong to the body of Christ and have a place in it.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:3-8

A longing to be loved is fulfilled when we read these words from Ephesians. In love he chooses us. In love he keeps us. In love he freely bestows the title of ‘Child.’ Adoption is the heart of God and just like any adoption there will be an adjustment period.  Because many of us have little experience with the depth and strength of a love so pure, a questioning about the truth of this kind of love wells up within us and we ask: “Will God still love me if I disappoint him? Will God stick by me when I’m at my worst? Will God be safe enough to reveal my deep, deep hurts to him?” You belong to God because he says you do. 

These verses assure us we are one with Christ in the Holy Spirit, we are valuable and priceless, we have purpose in the body of Christ, and we’re chosen in love by God.

The gift of longing to be is fulfilled when we find our unity, our value, our purpose, and our love in God who says we belong at his table of grace. He flings wide the door and pulls you in despite your worn and tattered coat and he takes that worn garment from you and gives you new clothes. Clothes that signify you belong to him. 



why rejecting ourself hurts and how to accept ourself


I’ve been avoiding this post. I’ve worked on other writing projects and even considered cleaning the floors because I don’t want to address the fact that Junior High may not be 25 years ago, but may be 2.5 days ago and maybe I’m not as mature as I think.

In Christ we are accepted, secure, and significant. Today, and for the next couple of weeks we’ll discuss acceptance and what prevents us from embracing God’s acceptance of us: our self-perception, our sense of belonging, and our confidence.

I’ve struggled with feeling as though I’m on the outside looking in more often than on the inside looking out. Whether I was the new kid in a new school and wondering who I was going to talk to or the friends that shunned me for an entire school year or the group of smart looking women who I would love to get to know, but just can’t seem to penetrate their circle of friends.

These memories and experiences led me to believe that there was something inherently wrong with me. I perceived myself as not good enough.

It was an up-town cafe that showed me just how foolish I was to believe that lie.  This little cafe was quaint and cute and oh so chic and I was not, but there I was, fidgeting in my seat, playing with my napkin, eyeing the set of silverware and wondering if I would remember the purpose of all those forks. And I wondered if I’d ever been in a place that used more than one.

I could hear soft music playing and my head kept telling me to relax and let the music wash over me, but my heart–the one where the scared little girl resides– was yelling at me, ‘You’re going to be asked to leave. It’s obvious you don’t fit here. They’re going to show you to the door. Na, na, na, na.’

Silly, isn’t it? But it was very, very true.

 Our hearts boss our heads around and we’re left worn out because of the mental battle.

So there I was, listening to the fears and lies of my heart, while my head was countering back with, ‘Just relax, sit tall, and don’t cower. You were invited to be here. Heart, hush up and listen to the violin strings. Let them sing a melody to you.’ I willed myself to relax and act normal, but it made me think how my head and my heart do this with God’s word as well.

Our hearts tell us the all-encompassing acceptance of God is too good to be true and our hearts tell us we’re not good enough to be included. 

We can read God’s word, which is the truth, but our hearts cannot or will not accept the truth. We have lies that we hear in our hearts that our mind believes and when we encounter the truth, it’s a struggle to embrace the truth. It can go the other way too. Sometime we know the truth in our heads, but our hearts have a hard time receiving what our heads know.

If we’ve struggled with the concept of fatherhood then John 1:12 will be a difficult verse to receive into our heart. But if we want to be set free from the battles that rage in our minds, then we must begin to learn, live, and love this truth:

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–” John 1:12

If we’ve struggled in friendships, we sometimes believe we’re not the type of person people want to be friends with. Other times we’ll protect ourselves and allow only a certain amount of access to our heart because our histories have shown us that friends cannot be trusted. The countering truth to this lie (that you’re not the friend type) is John 15:15. Jesus calls you friend. The King of the world, the king of hearts, the Lord of lords counts you as friend.

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I  learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15

If our histories hold choices we’re ashamed of and we’re living with long term consequences of those choices then we often believe the lie that they are unforgivable and unforgettable. This is a lie designed to keep us bound in condemnation and if we can be kept in condemnation then we will not understand the beauty of conviction and redemption. Our hearts need to know that through Jesus Christ we have a been made new.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

I walked away from that cafe with a crack in my mis-perception of myself and God in his kindness, mercy, and gentleness showed me that in him I have a seat at the table of grace. He showed me that by refusing to accept his truth about me doesn’t make it any less true. What’s true is true and God says we’re accepted. 

My heart is believing what my head knows to be true, but sometimes the lies sneak in and I’m back to the outside looking in.  Does this ever happen to you? It can happen in a moment and it’s times like these that I preach the truth to myself. I tell myself that I’m God’s child, I’m his friend, and I’ve  been made new.

You, my friend, can know this truth in your heart as well. Would you take some time to read these scriptures and make them personal by putting your name in these verses? The next time you feel as though you’re not enough, will you remember these truths?




will you pick me?

Have you ever felt like you are standing with your hand waving in the air, ‘pick me, pick me?’ Maybe as adults we don’t really do that but I think we all have that desire to be picked. Chosen. We ask: Pick me for the job. Pick me because I have something valuable to offer. And sometimes it seems that everyone else is getting ‘picked’ except for you.

I can remember those school play yard games where two kids were picked as ‘captains’ for a rousing game of dodgeball and then proceeded to pick team members. I hated those days.

I was usually the last of the kids picked. It could be because I hated the thought of throwing a ball– hard!–on purpose at someone and having it thrown–hard!–at me. Ouch!

It’s not that I didn’t try at athletics. In middle school I tried track, basketball, and volleyball. I discovered I didn’t like running. Ugh. And I really didn’t like having a ball flying through the air at me. That ball always seemed to connect with my nose as evidenced by a permanent black and blue mark across the bridge of my nose that shows up when I am exhausted. I know, I know…my hands are for catching the ball, not my face.

But really? I think it was those traumatizing days of school yard dodge ball that made me hate trying to catch a ball or toss one over the net. Suffice it to say–I was not in the first round pick or the second or the third, but dead last. I tried not to let it hurt, I mean I completely understand why I wasn’t picked first, but being last? over and over? It felt like rejection to me. I was in a different elementary school every year, and every year became a year I could ‘start over’, but the outcome was the same: ‘last pick’.

It’s funny how we carry childhood wounds and hurts into our adult lives, some of those wounds being pretty obvious, but the innocuous ones, the ones that are easy to hide beneath bravado and arrogance and pride and independence, those are the ones that affect our lives in a subtle, but significant way.

One of the ways this epidemic of being picked last in is evidenced in the difficulty in accepting the truth that I am chosen by God–because he wants me not because he has to.

‘For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight,’ Ephesians 1:4. How about if we replace the pronoun ‘us’ with our name? What if we read it like this: ‘For he chose Jessica in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight’. Try reading it with your name in place of the ‘us’. What is your reaction? When I first allowed that truth to be revealed to me, I followed it with a ‘but…’.

But as I go deeper with God, this truth becomes something I cannot ‘but’ away, but need to face head on and decide if I am going to embrace this truth that God chose me, long before I raised my arm, waving, ‘pick me, pick me’. For this truth to become embraceable I need to lay aside the identity of ‘last pick’ and decide that God’s opinion is ultimately the most important one there is to cling to. He calls me chosen.

He picked me. He picked you. Long ago. Before we even got to the playground of life we were ‘picked’. Chosen. That’s part of your identity. That’s part of mine. That’s one of the words we should hear when we look into that mirror. Will you open your ears to hear that truth or are you stuck following it with a ‘but…’.

Friends, I pray that you will embrace ‘chosen’ as part of your identity and if embracing chosen is an area where you are strong in, find someone to encourage in that truth. Tell them God chooses them. Tell them that God picks them first.  I’ll go first….

You are picked! By our loving, loving God. In fact he says:

Dear child,

I choose you. Embrace the truth as I embrace you.

All my love,

Father God


how can it be?

This time of year fills me with a sense of awe and wonder.

It’s the time of year that I choose to deeply ponder the coming of Christ in flesh. The reminders are all around me; the house is decorated for the month long ‘birthday party’. The city streets in our rural communities have their wreaths attached to the light poles reminiscent of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

One of the things that I wonder about though, is this: ‘Did Mary have a wonderful life?’ She was the one chosen to carry and birth and raise the son of God. Religions revere her, some even pray to her as if she is a holy icon. She was just a girl. A girl with a heart of faith and trust and submission. She was chosen, but it was not through a ‘pageant’ where the winner won the right to carry the son of God. Basically, it was not about her, it was about God and his promised covenant and it was the right time.

‘How can this be?’ was her question to the angel who bore the news. It was not a question of disbelief. It was a question with an underlying tone of acceptance.  Imagine what our lives would look like if instead of questioning God on whether he knows what he is doing or demanding a ‘sign’ that what he is saying is true, we simply believed. We simply trusted.

One of the many truths he whispers to us is this: he is for us. What if we said, ‘How can it be?’ instead of ‘How can I know this is true?’ Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist had a heavenly visitor as well, but his response is remarkable different, but the significance can be easily missed. He wanted to intellectually wrap his brain around the angel’s news rather than embrace it with a heart of faith.

It could be the large age difference between Zechariah and Mary that birthed the two very different responses. We could justify Zechariah’s response by saying that he probably sought God for years on this very subject (the desire for a child), and years passed with the answer of ‘no’. I understand where he is coming from. I think we all have petitioned God for something or someone and the answer we receive is not the deeply desired ‘yes’, but the deeply feared ‘no’.

Mary, a young woman, not hardened by the burdens and seasons of life, had the faith of a child. A faith we are all called to have. A faith that can only come from the Father. Even that is amazing! We don’t have to stir up this faith on our own, we simply have to believe and let him build our faith. No matter our age.

Do you think Zechariah ever doubted the Lord’s goodness and ways again? He had more than nine months to wrestle with his need for ‘reassurance’, all the while seeing with his own eyes the Lord’s plan unfolding–whether he believed the Lord or not. Could he have been bursting to share with others what God had done for him and Elizabeth?

But I think there is a bigger picture here than what we see on the surface.

It wasn’t about Zechariah and Elizabeth at all.

It wasn’t about Mary at all.

It wasn’t about the key players in the Christmas story.

It was about God and his plan to redeem the world.

To redeem you and me. And that is the greatest gift.

But even then it’s not about us.

What would happen if we changed our perspective on answered prayer or unanswered prayer, whichever way you want to look at it, and saw not through the lens of  receiving blessing, but we saw through the lens of what God wants in the overall big picture of this world, and how he wants us to bless him, through it all.

Through all the yes’ and all the no’s.

We can turn it all into praise.

We can accept, with a faith filled heart, his promise that he is for us, asking, ‘How can it be?’, and then watch the Lord’s promise unfold in ways that take out breath away.