Faithful is He who calls you who also will do it.

–2 Thessalonians 5:24 NIV

God has always been present in our lives. From his days of residing in the Temple, the symbolic heart of His people, to today where His Spirit resides in our physical hearts, He is present. But we don’t see Him physically.

In the Old Testament the Israelites knew that behind the Temple curtain, in the Holy of Holies, God dwelled. When it was Zacharias’ turn, as a priest, to go behind the veil, there was no hint that the Lord’s emissary would appear. No message came in a dream, there was no warning, no fanfare, he just appeared…suddenly…unannounced. His appearance scared Zachariah so badly, he was paralyzed with fear.

Upon hearing the news that his wife would bear a son, something they had wanted for so, so long, Zachariah’s knee-jerk reaction was, “I don’t believe you!” Even though there would be no shame in the birth, no difficulty, just assurance that his son would achieve great stature in the eyes of God, his immediate reaction was, “No! That can’t be right!” Standing in the presence of God, he couldn’t take in the gift he perceived as too wonderful, too good.

How many times have we, sitting right in the circle of God’s presence…His presence emanating from within, His presence of which we are sure…responded as Zechariah? How many times has He whispered some truth to us that seems too wonderful to take in and pushes too far against what we know that our response is, “That can’t be true! It is too wonderful for me. It is too risky to allow my hopes to be raised only to be dashed if it doesn’t happen or I somehow get the message wrong.”

How interesting that Mary’s response was just the opposite. Her news was that her life would be turned upside down, that she would come close to losing everything she valued. That there would be great suffering coming her way because of what was about to unfold in her. Yet she responded, “Let it be with me just as you say” (Luke 1:38 MSG).

How I long to be like Mary in her uncluttered, unfettered response to God. Yet, how true it is that more than I’d like, I resist and hesitate like Zachariah. How thankful I am that the will of the Lord went forward regardless of their response. How grateful I am that Zachariah’s unbelief was not a point of separation, but instead became a place of transformation. Because that’s what God does. He meets us where we are, leans in and says, “I have great news for you. It’s going to rock your world. Change you forever. I’ll make it all happen. What do you say? Shall we do this together?” And then He waits for our response.

ACTION:  What is God’s word for you today? What are you having trouble believing? What seems too good to be true, or too risky to receive? Perhaps take some time to sit with those things, to hold them up to God as an offering. Let Him do what He will do with them. He is responsible for His work in you. He only asks us to let Him work.


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God’s Presence, Our Joy