Learning from one man’s silence

“How can I be sure of this?” that was the question he asked.  It seems innocent enough to me.  Don’t we want to have some sense of certainty before we act?  I do.

Zechariah, the priest, had just been told that his barren wife Elizabeth was going to bear them a son, a son who would be great in the sight of the Lord (Lk 1:11-17  NIV).  For this simple country priest that was better news than we might realize.  In those days, for a couple to be childless not only invited questions about their standing with God, but it also placed their social security in jeopardy.

Zechariah would love to believe the angel’s announcement, but there was one huge obstacle: it didn’t make any sense!  He was old and his wife was beyond the years of bearing children.  It just seemed too good to be true.  Thus the question, “How can I be sure of this?”  Zechariah wasn’t willing to buy into this “dream-come-true” until he had some assurances.  The old priest wanted another sign and indeed another sign was granted; he wouldn’t be able to talk until the promised son was born!  How does that sit with you?  A bit over the top?

Zechariah was literally dumbfounded by God, a state of limitation which I  believed helped his soul to catch up to what God was doing around him.  I think we can learn from Zechariah’s experience.  If you clicked onto the scripture link above you might have caught that the angel’s announcement was in response to Zechariah’s own prayer.  I am not surprised, given the burden of being childless, that Zechariah was praying about it to God.  We should be doing the same.  The burdens that impact our families might have a totally different cause, but whatever the voids are, as guys we should be standing (or kneeling) in that gap, asking God Almighty to bring his remedy to our situation.

Credit - http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2221/2419176528_d6acef468c.jpgHowever, I am surprised that when God answers Zechariah’s prayer Zechariah does not seem to be any where near ready to believe it.  It is easy for me to think that I would have performed much better…but wait a minute, there are things that I am praying for that I just don’t think God is going to deal with.  It is almost like my praying has furrowed my thinking.  I now live in the mental rut that believes the issue will always be with me.  Do you have any of those kind of burdens, where are you resigned to the fact that it just won’t be resolved, even though you have prayed and prayed.  We need to learn that our limitations, even our slowness to believe, does not limit God.

Christmas, among many things, needs to remind us that God does the miraculous, when we are ready for it and even when we are not.


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This blog is a place to wrestle with loving, leading and labouring according to the Jesus Way.


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