But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John”.
Elizabeth was old and had a barren womb when this promise was given to them, well beyond her child-bearing years. It’s easy for us to read this story and keep our focus on what the Lord was doing in that moment because we can see the whole picture from the start, but what about when these things happen in our own lives?
The Scripture says they were both “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6), but a barren womb to the Jews was a disgrace because children were considered God’s favor and blessing on a family (Psa. 127:3). How often had they prayed for a child in her child-bearing years, only to have their prayer go unanswered at that time? How often had they been disgraced by others because of it, despite having walked blameless?
Zacharias doubted the angel’s words (Luke 1:20), but God acted with perfect timing to answer their prayer in a way that would have the greatest impact on HIS kingdom, not theirs. He is not even told when these things would come to pass, only that they would be “fulfilled in their own time”, stretching his faith even more. How long have you been waiting for the answer to your prayer? It was years before Abraham was blessed with a son through Sarah, years before Zacharias was blessed with a son through Elizabeth, and may be years before your prayers, too, are answered.
Will you trust in His plans, even if it’s not the outcome or timing you hoped for? The Lord has given me promises that have yet to pass, and I have prayers that have gone unanswered, but still I wait and pray, because I know that He who promises and hears is faithful, even if the answer is no.
By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.