Recently I’ve come to think a bit more about Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. One of the first things that hits me is that while Mary batted a thousand in her interaction with the angel Gabriel, Zechariah struck out on three pitches…. Mary believed and Zechariah doubted; Mary is praised while Zechariah is struck mute. Yet there’s a lot more to this story.
The Church encourages us to read the “Canticle of Zechariah” every day. (Luke 1:68-79). Zechariah was a great man…. righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless; yet Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were barren and now advanced in age. After all the years of desiring and praying to have a child and apparently resolved that it wasn’t God’s will, guess what happens? At a time when they had moved on from their heartfelt prayer, guess who show up? Yes, the angel Gabriel appears and proclaims, “ 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. Zechariah’s response seems to be, “ thank you very much, but it seems like “a day late and a dollar short” … I’m an old man and my wife is advanced in years. Well, the Angel Gabriel is not thrilled with Zechariah’s lack of faith and causes him to become mute.
Fast forward 9 months and Elizabeth bears a son and Zechariah gets another chance to speak and he doesn’t mess it up. Zechariah filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied the famous canticle… “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, …. to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:68-79)
God blesses Zechariah, not only with an answer to his prayer for a son, but with John The Baptist as his son. He also uses this good man to proclaim a prophecy that has inspired the church for the last 2,000 years. This all came after many years of seeming silence from God.
This should encourage all of us who have been laying our important requests before the Lord for many years , perhaps with seemingly no answer. “Lord please hear my prayer… it’s important and I believe it’s your will to answer this request…. please send me a child, heal that brother, bring conversion to that person, bring our nation back to God, strengthen your church, send more vocations, free me from that nagging sin that clings too closely, make me holy……etc.,etc., etc.“ God where are you… did you hear my prayer?
Well Zechariah left his prayer request in the hands of the Lord. He had apparently moved on with his life, serving God, so much so, that he didn’t recognize the answer when it showed up… even though the answer was carried in the hands of an archangel.
So the moral of the story is let’s keep our eyes open. God answers every prayer we utter that is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The answer may come in 15 minutes or 15 years…but it will come in the “fullness of time…. in that perfect time”. The answer may even be delivered by the hands of an angel. So let’s be ready with joy and praise and song and laughter…. be ready for the Good News from our Great God.
One thought on ““Be Ready For The Unexpected””
I guess I can imagine that Zechariah was very disappointed that his prayer for a child wasn’t answered. Those 9 months in silence must have been anointed with tremendous grace🙌🏻