Judges 13:2-7, 24-25; Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17;Luke 1:5-25
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard.” (Luke 1:13)
Albert Einstein once said: “you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” It seems as though Zechariah started out as the former and ended up as the latter.
Today’s Gospel reading praises Zechariah, along with his wife Elizabeth, for being “righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly” (Luke 1:6). Yet Zechariah scoffs. “Who? Us? We’re an old couple, ready to retire. You’ve got to be kidding!” While Elizabeth is “filled with the Holy Spirit” and immediately recognizes Mary as the mother of the Savior (1:41-45), Zechariah’s mind, led by human reasoning, is still under a shadow of unbelief. He joins a venerable list of biblical “doubters,” including the apostles Thomas and Saul of Tarsus, as well as Abraham’s wife, Sarah, who laughs at her own late parenthood. But God doesn’t discard them for their lack of faith. In fact, he uses it for our edification and his glory!
In the end, Zechariah testifies to the fact that God not only forgives, he rewards—in this case with insight, faith, and a holy progeny. Zechariah’s lengthy silence turns into a blessing, a chance to contemplate Scripture and to watch the promises of God’s “holy prophets from of old” come to their fulfillment. As soon as he names his son, Zechariah is “filled with the Holy Spirit” and moved to rejoice in “the tender mercy of our God” (Luke 1:78).
How reassuring it is to know that our past doubts and our inability to trust God don’t cloud his desire to bless us! Just as God poured his grace on Zechariah, he will show his favor to us as well. In fact, our Father is constantly at work molding us into the trusting, believing disciples he knows we can become.
God has a marvelous plan for you, just as he did for Zechariah and his family. What’s more, he longs to show you his plan. So in prayer today, fix your eyes on your heavenly Father. Imagine him smiling on you with love and compassion. Then practice Zechariah’s prayerful silence—not as a punishment but so that you might hear God’s voice and feel his love in your heart.
“Father, speak to me as I quiet myself before you.”~WAU