In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. Luke 1:5-7
Zechariah and Elizabeth were called “upright in the sight of the Lord” because of their devotion to God. Not only were they obedient to God in the outward compliance to the letter of the law, their obedience grew out of hearts desiring to please Him.
Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense…And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechari′ah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; for he will be great before the Lord…” Luke 1:8-9, 11-15a
At the time, there were about 20,000 priests throughout the country. Priests were divided into 24 separate groups of about a thousand each. Zechariah was part of the Abijah division, chosen to serve in the temple that week. Lots were drawn to see who would enter the Holy Place on a given day. It was a once in a lifetime chance that Zechariah was chosen to be in the temple that day. Zechariah and Elizabeth were part of God’s plan to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus into the world.
And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” Luke 1:18-20
Zechariah did not believe the words spoken to him by the angel of God and was struck mute. From a human perspective, Zechariah’s doubts were understandable as both he and his wife were up in years. It is easy to doubt or misunderstand what God wants to do in our lives. We sometimes make the mistake of trusting in our own experiences and intellect rather than God. But what God promises, He delivers. God is always on time. If you are waiting for God to act in your marriage, remain patient and trust God. No matter how impossible God’s promises may seem, God will always deliver on His word.
Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son…And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. Luke 1:57, 59-64
Zechariah and Elizabeth’s desire to have a child was deep. But God wanted their faith to become deeper still. Their faith grew, in part, out of their years of waiting for God to fulfill their dream of having a child. Day by day, as they prayed for a child, Zechariah and Elizabeth were challenged to continue to hope in God.
For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. Psalm 62:5
We all have unfulfilled desires and hopes. As beloved children of God, we must never give up hope. As we wait on God for our miracle, let us ask Him to mold and shape our character and make us more like Him. If we persevere in obedience to God, in the end, we will find that God’s plan is far superior to our own. Then, like Zechariah, we will be able to proclaim that God has done marvelous deeds! But I will hope continually, and will praise thee yet more and more. Psalm 71:14
Trust God with your family and marriage. Know that it is His desire to bring health and healing. His love for you and your family is beyond compare. He knows your hurts and desires to have a closer personal relationship with you. Seek Him with all your heart and let Him comfort you in His loving arms.
Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever… Psalm 146:5-6