“And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.” Luke 1:20 (NIV)
The second song of Christmas that Luke records is about a priest who struggled with doubt. His name was Zechariah. While on duty in the Temple, an angel appeared to him and tells him that he and his wife would have a son that would prepare the way for the coming Messiah. Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, had prayed for years to have a child. Given their age at that time, they had given up on that dream from ever becoming reality. But, what seemed impossible with men is possible with God! What’s remarkable to me is how Zechariah responded to the angel’s message. Unlike Mary who accepted the angel’s story despite how impossible it sounded, Zechariah expresses his disbelief in verse 18. Zechariah asked the angel,
“How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
The exchange between the angel and Zechariah and what happens next is comical.
The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.” Luke 1:19-20 (NIV)
Here was a father-to-be who couldn’t speak! He remained speechless until his son was born! Only then was his tongue loosed, and he sang a song of praise and prophecy in Luke 1:68-79.
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant— the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
I love this story because I can relate to the doubts of this priest. Yet, despite his doubt, God fulfilled His purposes. It gives me hope. Even pastors struggle with doubts, especially when prayers go unanswered and dreams begin to fade. If you can relate, be encouraged, and remain faithful to what God has called you to do. Let God be God, and put your trust in Him to accomplish His purpose in His time and His way.
Dear God, I surrender my doubts and hopes to You that in You I may find peace and faith to praise You even when I don’t understand. You are God, and nothing is too difficult for you!