13th December – Luke 1:5-13
Coincidences and chance happenings.
On one hand, Zechariah ended up in the right place at the right time to meet God’s Angel through a series of rather lucky events. He happened to be a priest, his division happened to be on duty, he happened to be chosen by lot to go and burn the incense; and all this because he happened to have been born at the right time and place, during the reign of Herod in Judea. He happened to be married to Elizabeth and both happened to be Godly people. What are the chances?!
Or, it could be that the whole event was perfectly orchestrated by a God who somehow worked in the background to bring all these loose ends together whilst leaving space for events to happen within a framework of human freedom. Zechariah didn’t have to have been a Godly man, but his life was lived in a Godly way; or else presumably God might have chosen someone else.
For me this is a challenge. In one way, I suppose I may be alive and here as a distinctly lucky coincidence (especially for me!) as Dawkins would have me believe. But on the other hand, God knit me together in my mother’s womb, as the Psalms say. On one hand, God has a plan for me, but on the other I have freedom of choice. Am I seeking to follow God with my choices?
One of the remarkable things in this passage is that in fulfilling God’s plan, God also fulfils Zechariah’s prayers for a child. My dreams and God’s plan often coincide in a way I could not hope to have set up! It is an amazing God who can unfathomably work these things together.
Lord God, Creator of the Universe and Lover of all Humanity, please help me to co-operate with you and participate in your goodness to all those you have given me contact with today. Thank you for the dreams and hopes you have set within me and thank you that you hear my prayers and count them important in your plans and purposes.