"Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” (Luke 1:18)
Have you ever found yourself in a place where you have doubted the promises of God? If doubt is too harsh a word, maybe at the very least, you have wondered at them.
Perhaps you have grown up in church – from Sunday to Sunday being reminded that God is in control; that He will take care of you and your family. However, you read the newspapers and watch the TV broadcasts, and all you see is doom and gloom in what seems to be an out-of-control world.
You are reminded of God’s promises of healing, but when you are left standing at the sickbed of a loved one, you wonder why there is pain and suffering.
You read and hear about God’s promises, but when you line that up with what you see, you may be left wondering!
Well, friends the reality this morning is that you are not alone. Throughout history as well as the Scriptures we find great men and women of God Who wrestled and struggled at times in taking God at his Word.
The classic case is that of ‘Doubting Thomas” the disciple, who said ““Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24).
In today’s reflection, we meet a man by the name of Zechariah. He and his wife, Elizbeth are described as being “righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly”. What a description!
But, guess what! This man of God, as righteous and blameless as he was found himself in a place of doubt.
An angel of the Lord appears to him and declares that Elizabeth will give birth to a son, John. Surely this awesome promise was received without question? After all it appears that as couple this was what had been prayed for over the years – a child. But no. Zechariah questions it! He weighs up the promise against what he sees in the natural – an old man in the mirror; an old lady by his side. Zechariah questions! He runs his hand across his cheeks, feeling the wrinkles in his face - there is no evidence anywhere around him that God’s promise could be fulfilled. The righteous, blameless man of God doubts the promise!
He does the calculations. He adds the one plus one of God’s promise, and it’s just not adding up to two! Surely this is a recipe for disappointment; surely it’s a recipe for doubt.
Is that where you find yourself during this Advent season perhaps? Doubting what God has promised?
Well, Friend, why not take a leaf from Zechariah’s book. God did not write him off because of his doubt, neither does he write us off. Even though doubt was present, he continued to be faithful in his service before God and God’s people. It was done in silence. Sure, the silence, in his case, was imposed and induced by the Lord, but could this be a lesson, I wonder, to us in our times of doubt. Be faithful, be still and know that He is God. Be still and know that He is faithful to keep his promises. When that breakthrough happens, when the promise is fulfilled, the sceptics, scoffers and sneerers will be silenced; you will get your voice back again and declare the praises of He who has made it possible. Till then, though clouds of doubt may gather,
be still and
know that He is God!
Lord, I believe, help my unbelief,
Disperse the grey clouds of doubt;
Circumstances deny, and decry what you’ve said,
Help me know that in silence, you are working things out.