My wife Susie and I got married in June 2013. In April of this year, Susie gave birth to our first child, Maggie. It took a couple of years for us to get pregnant, and throughout that time, it felt as though I was praying every single day for the Lord to give us a child. I struggled with the Lord, asking Him why we weren’t getting pregnant as quickly as our friends were. I am well aware that many couples, including some friends of ours, struggled to get pregnant much longer than we did, and some may never have biological children. But because of my incessant prayer for a child over the years, I see the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth differently than I did before.
Zechariah and Elizabeth are the parents of John the Baptist. But when we meet them in Luke 1, they are faithful followers of the Lord, a priest and his wife, who cannot have children. The Gospel of Luke tells us they “both were righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord” (Luke 1:6). They were childless and were well along in age, unlikely to ever have children.
One day, Zechariah entered the temple to complete his priestly task, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him. It scared him, understandably so, “but the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. There will be joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth’” (vv.13–14).
The point of Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story isn’t that they eventually gave birth to a son, a child they had likely prayed for countless times over many years—though obviously their son played an important role in the coming of the Messiah. The point of Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story is that God was faithful to work in and through their lives in ways they never could have imagined.
Zechariah and Elizabeth served the Lord faithfully, even when their prayers seemed to go unanswered for so long. Even in the face of disappointment, they did not lose hope, and they did not stop asking Him. What about us? Do we continue to hope in Him, to trust Him while we wait for an answer? Do we continue to pray and to seek Him?
What do you desperately long for Him to do? Ask Him.
Written by Chris Martin