Have you ever prayed for something year after year, but it seemed God never heard? This happened to the priest Zechariah (Luke 1). He had grown weary of praying. He needed a miracle. A Christmas miracle.
Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth – who Scripture describes as “both well along in years” (Luke 1:7) – were probably in their 50’s or 60’s. They may have been married for more than four decades. At this point in their lives they should have been grandparents many times over. But they had never had children. The Bible tells us that Elizabeth was “barren.”
Zechariah had been praying for a child (Luke 1:13). In fact, he’d probably been asking God to open Elizabeth’s womb for almost as many years as they’d been married. For 30, 40 years, Zechariah had been lifting the same request to God. Again and again, he begged God to give them a baby. And the years passed.
Zechariah’s faith had grown weak. He served God, he continued to pray, but he didn’t really expect God to answer (Luke 1:18-20). He didn’t really believe that God would – or could – work in his life. Doubt hindered his faith. Elizabeth and Zechariah both needed a miracle – her a physical one and him a spiritual.
Then something happened. Zechariah’s priestly division was on duty at the temple – which only happened twice a year. Zechariah was chosen by lot to light the incense in the Holy Place. Due to the sheer number of priests, this would have been a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Picture this dramatic moment. Zechariah entered the Holy Place and approached the altar of incense, which sat directly in front of the curtain that veiled the Holy of Holies. As he moved to light the incense He noted how close he stood to the place where God was said to dwell. Dangerously close to the Holy One. Would God hear his prayer here, in this place?
The smoke from the incense rose and the supernatural collided with the natural. An angel of the Lord suddenly appeared next to the altar, overwhelming Zechariah with fear. Zechariah’s prayer had been heard. His faith would be revived and his longing would be fulfilled.
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.” Luke 1:13
A son would be born to Elizabeth in her old age. This son, born in God’s timing and for His purposes, would herald the coming of the Messiah. He would call God’s people to repentance and set God’s plan of salvation in motion. God heard. God answered in His time and way. A son would be born. A faith was revived.
Is your faith weary? Have you been waiting for God to answer? Do you doubt He will – or can? I’ve been there. God may not always work the way I would choose, but I know that He hears. He is able. His supernatural activity will once again break through my natural circumstances in His way and time.
What about you? Does your faith need revival? How can you allow God to strengthen your weary faith while you wait for His supernatural activity?
Note: This is the second in a series of posts about Christmas miracles. Read “Do you believe in miracles?”
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