Suffering May Not be What it Seems
And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. (Luke 1:6)
In biblical times it was considered sinful to choose not to have children. According to rabbinic literature, the Law mandated that Jews were expected to maintain the race and pass on their faith through procreation (Gen 1:28; 12:3). Thus, for Jewish couples to choose not have children was viewed as sinful, and for Jewish couples to be unable to bear children was considered shameful and a clear sign of God’s displeasure (1 Sam 1:10-11; Lk 1:25). Yet we read in the opening words of the gospel of Luke, regarding the parents of John the Baptist, that Elizabeth and Zechariah “were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years” (vv.6-7). What an amazing epitaph—“both [were] righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” How would you like to be described that way? Elizabeth and Zechariah are proof that when things don’t go well in life, this does not mean God is displeased with us or that we lack faith or sanctification. In fact, in the case of Elizabeth and Zechariah, their suffering meant that God was preparing to use them for something great. Thus, suffering may be a sign of good things to come.
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