We received some devastating news this past week. May brother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. Not just cancer, but liver cancer! His wife had cancer about 7 1/2 years ago and went through aggressive chemotherapy for over two years. She survived, but has never fully recovered physically from the devastating effects of the poison in her body. Now their family has to face this again! This was not how they expected their lives to turn out.
All this was on my mind as I prepared and then taught my Sunday School lesson today. As I thought about Zacharias, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary, I couldn't help but think about how most likely their lives turned out not to be not what they expected them to be.
Certainly Elizabeth and Zacharias planned on having children when they were first married. As the years passed, I can only imagine the loneliness and struggle. For a woman not to have children was actually shameful in the eyes of the community. As if it was her choice to begin with? Then to have an angel appear to Zacharias, a minor priest of the temple. Wow. I think I can say for certain that was not expected!
Mary didn't expect the angel Gabriel to visit her. She was awe-struck at the angel's message. She wasn't expecting her common life to become one where people praised her for generations to come. At the same time, all of her hopes for raising a family were changed when she realized that she was going to raise the Messiah.
And can you imagine what Joseph felt? We know from the account in Matthew that he definitely was not expecting his betrothed to bear a child by someone else! Then can you imagine the weight of responsibility in raising and teaching the Messiah!
All four of these people didn't expect their lives to be what they were, yet they fulfilled their callings. Their whole efforts were one of glorifying God and living a life dedicated to fulfilling his plan. It kind of reminds me of the man born blind whom Jesus healed. Christ said he was born blind not because of sin but so that the glory of God might be made manifest.
How I live my life; what I do with the unexpected events; how I turn to God and use these event to build his king --that is the great quest.