Dec 19, 2012

Why It's So Hard to Believe

Do You....
Photo by  ~K~

The Santa Tale

Do you believe in Santa Claus? It's the season for that question, isn't it? My middle son (now 25) says I lied to him about this, but I was pretty careful to allow him to believe whatever he wanted to believe. And like all children, he gradually gave up believing a man in a red suit entered our house at night and left gifts. He sees the Santa Claus ruse differently than I do, I suppose. He's not bitter or anything. He says that in a teasing way. The truth is, you only hold on to beliefs that you know in your head are true.

The Unbeliever

Gabriel and Zaccaria (Battistero Firenze, Andrea Pisano 1290 ca. Sqaure)
Photo by Ark in Time
I was thinking about this this morning while reading my devotion about Zechariah. A angel came to him. Well, not just any angel, Gabriel, the angel who stands in the very presence of God and brings messages about the Messiah. Gabriel told Zechariah, a Jewish priest, that his wife would conceive and bear a son who would be named John. And John would prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. But Zechariah didn't believe. He questioned Gabriel. He and his wife were old. How could this happen? And because of his unbelief he was punished with an inability to speak until the baby was born. The question I asked myself was why he didn't believe. Certainly, this was a terrifying event. Who knows what you would do if an angel suddenly appeared to you.

But the angel did not appear to any average Joe on the street. This was a priest. A learned man. A man tasked with knowing things like who Gabriel was (he was mentioned in Scripture) and how important a Messiah was to the Jewish people. And that God had promised to send a Savior. And then when he was told it would happen, he didn't believe.

It worked out all right for Zechariah. He did get his voice back after John was born. But I've been pondering this. How hard is it to believe things that you know in your head are true?

Why It's So Hard

Is it hard to believe in good will? In human kindness? That good will overcome evil? Sure it is. When a mentally ill man randomly assassinates little children, we all ask ourselves if we can still believe. Could it be God has left us to our own evilness? Is He gone? Was He ever there in the first place?

Zechariah and his wife were chosen to be John's parents because they were righteous people. They kept God's laws. They did believe. This was a momentary lapse of faith for Zechariah. Zechariah might have lost his belief for a moment, but God did not stop believing in him. He would still be John's father.


When something happens that is beyond our ability to comprehend it, we're stunned and we do find it hard to believe. But we will come back to our belief that there is good in the world because we, as followers of Christ, have hope. And hope is the thing that we hold on to when there is absolutely nothing left. When we are hanging on by only a thread, the thing we are holding onto is hope.

It's the season of hope. Good will concur evil in the end. Believe it!

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