Then there appeared to him an angel of God....When Zechariah saw him he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard.”--Luke 1:11-13a
Sometimes we pray as regularly as we brush our teeth. Sometimes we pray because we want something especially badly. Sometimes we pray as a last ditch effort. Sometimes we pray because we hope it will make a difference in our lives. But, we pray. We pray and hope God hears. We have no way of knowing for sure that God hears, but we pray anyway, figuring it is better to pray in hopes that God hears, than not to pray at all. In other words, we may not have stellar faith, but we can at least act in a small way as if we believe.
Perhaps that is why we are so surprised and terrified when we receive confirmation of God’s attention, God’s care-full listening to the contents of our soul, God’s desire to intervene on our behalf. We are not sure we really want God to be that real. So real that God or a messenger of God can actually appear in our lives. We want God close, but not so close that we become uncomfortable.
When the assuring angels appear, we are tempted to turn the other way because we are not certain what their presence means. Yet, the assuring angels' role is to remind us that God always hears our prayers. As the prophet Isaiah said of God, “Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24) God always acts on our behalf. God always hears. God hears even the prayers that have not yet become prayers within us. Are you poised to receive the confirmation from the assuring angels that God has listened and heard the silent cry of your soul?
O God, my faith can sometimes be so shallow that I fear ever being in the holy presence. Startle me with the assurance of your interest in my life and soul.
These meditations by Renee Miller first appeared at explorefaith.org
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