How Can We Hold on To Hope?
Posted: Wednesday, March 13
Zechariah’s response to the messenger angel Gabriel seems a little surprising. He had just been told that God had answered his prayers for a child and his wife Elizabeth would give birth to a son whom they were to name John. Instead of receiving this news with joy, Zechariah responded with doubt, even after he had been told everything he needed to know. However, looking further into the context of this moment may help us better understand how Zechariah became so skeptical.
Gabriel’s words to Zechariah may very well have been the first direct message God had given to any Israelite in nearly 400 years. Malachi was the last prophet God had sent to Israel and it would be Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist, who would be the next. As a priest, Zechariah and several generations before him lived daily longing for a fresh word from God, and not receiving one. It’s very likely that there were times when he and other Israelites felt like God was distant. Add to this the personal struggle of Zechariah and his wife being unable to have a child. By this point in their lives, they had probably come to accept that they weren’t going to be parents, yet the longing remained. Facing these challenges would lead many to become doubtful. So how can a person hold on to hope after facing so much disappointment?
Like Zechariah, we might find ourselves struggling to find hope after battling numerous challenges. One thing we must remember is to not allow our circumstances to define our view of Christ. His goodness, love and grace remain unchanged regardless of our current personal situation. Remembering this will help us to know that God is with us through life challenges and He always wants the best for us. And let’s not forget to remember the many times God has provided for us on a daily basis. Zechariah’s doubt resulted in God closing his mouth until 8 days after his son’s birth. He had to listen as others marveled at a miracle that God had given him. Let’s always leave room for God to do the unexpected in our lives because when He does, we want to lead in celebrating with joy, not sitting on the sidelines in silence.