I want to start this article by asking a thought provoking question. Can good news originate from the hospital? The word hospital congures up many terrifying thoughts in most minds. Themes of terrible sicknesses like cancer, aids, etc run in minds and death is a thought which is never far off from such themes. When you pass by the morgue as you visit the sick you are reminded of the terrifying end that could become of the situation. So, it may be a strange thought to believe that good news can come from the hospital. But bad experience does not always tell the whole story. The good news is that there is good news from the hospital sometimes. And that good news is almost always found in the maternity wing. There the words, “You have a beautiful son, ” or, “You have a beautiful daughter,” are first pronounced. The maternity wing is the only place in the hospital where a visit causes one’s heart to erupt with joy, more so for the father who is seeing his baby for the first time(especially if it is his first born). But the joy at the beginning of a life at the hospital is not always an enduring one in the lives of those who witness the beginning of that life and in the lives of the countless others who would be affected by it in the years to come. When people who would bring peace and joy to many are being born there are also those who would cause much pain and anguish to others being born. When Hitler was born, his mother and many who knew her rejoiced, not knowing that decades later he would become the source of great pain and misery for a lot of Jewish people and many more other people. Likewise, there have been many people whose birth was a source of joy for family and friends but marked the coming into the earth of a soul which would bring much anguish and misery to the world. Mass murderers, serial killers, robbers, gender violence perpetrators, child molesters, etc all have their births marked by joy and happiness. Even the birth of Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed the Son of God, brought joy and happiness to his parents, family and their friends. But Jesus would later say about him, ¨It would be better for him if he had not been born¨(Mark 14:21). Some people are so evil that their death is a source of joy and relief for those who are left behind. They share the fate of the devil. In speaking about the day when he is finally chained in hell in the millenium period, the bible declares in Isaiah 14:5-7:
´The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers, which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless aggression. All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing.´
Interestly, there was a time in the world’s history which marked the birth of a child that would grow up to impact all the lands of the earth with such rest and peace that the angels broke into singing at his birth. The name of that child is Jesus: Of His birth, the bible tells us,
´Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ¨Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests¨´(Matthew 2:13-14).
In the year that Jesus was born there was also born, some months earlier, another child of whom the angelic host also rejoiced. He was the forerunner to the Son of God and was born to introduce Him to the world. That child´s name was John. He was born to a woman named Elizabeth, who had been barren for most of her married life. He was a miracle child, one whom nobody expected. And that miracle was initiated when God sent an angel with a promise to Zechariah the Priest, Elizabeth´s husband. Luke 1:11-17 tells us:
´…an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”´
Let me pick out a few points from the above scripture which are very important concerning what we are talking about. We are told that John was not to be a person who takes alcohol. Alcohol or substance abuse has been a source of much pain and misery for many a parent. They hopelessly watch their child become alcoholic or addicted to drugs and go through the pain of watching the violent behaviour of that child. Everyday they live in fear of someone or the police knocking on their door to announce to them that their child has done someone some great harm or has done himself or herself harm. The life of a parent with an alcoholic or drug addicted child is not an easy or happy one. Proverbs 17:21 & 25 tell us:
´To have a fool for a son brings grief; there is no joy for the father of a fool. A foolish son brings grief to this father and bitterness to the one who bore him´
It is sad when your lifestyle is a source of pain for those who love you. Sometimes that person who loves you but to whom you inflict pain because of your behaviour is your spouse. You get drunk and come home to abuse her physically and verbally. And yet at the same time you expect to receive love from such a person. It is like watering a fruit tree with acid and expecting to harvest fruit from it. How can you expect good fruit from a tree you are killing? You complain that your partner no longer loves you but forget to ask yourself why. A person can only take so much abuse before they have had enough of you. So, if you want people to value and appreciate you, you have to give them a good reason to. You have to become a well from which they are able to draw joy and peace. The bible says in the scripture I mentioned above that John was going to be a joy and delight to his parents and to multitudes more. How do you become like John was? Well, you first have to stop your bad habits. However, you may be saying that you have tried many times and you are always failing. Well, this is where the power of God comes in. You have to let God help you by relying on His strength and not on your own. And acquiring strength from God begins with accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour. As Isaiah:12:2-3 says:
‘Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.’
So, now is the time to accept Jesus as your personal Saviour. Ask Him into heart right now.