Zechariah: Response Required
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”
-Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV
Today while I was looking for another thing in scripture, I came across the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth and just couldn't get past it. The first thing that stuck out to me was the fact that the angel greats Zechariah with, “God has heard your prayer.” What prayer? The one that the elderly man said that morning asking for a child? I doubt it. Zechariah and his wife were well beyond their childbearing years. So what prayer was he talking about? The prayer of a desperate younger man. The prayer prayed through tears of disappointment and hurt. God heard! Even though He appeared silent on the matter, God heard and God had a plan!
I love that God wasn't offended that Zechariah had lost hope! Zechariah's response to the news that he would finally have the son that he had once prayed for, and not just any son but a son who will be great in the eyes of the Lord, gave him away. He didn't believe it. That's not the response of a man who was still holding on to hope. Who can blame him? Everything that he saw, all the truths of his story, were pointing against there being any chance of his prayer being answered. Zechariah and Elizabeth had settled this long ago. They would die with just each other. God was not going to come through.
Except He was, in His timing and in His way. But this brings us to the second thing that got my attention in this story. There was a response required! Had Zechariah not followed through with his responsibility there would have been no John the Baptist, at least not carried in the womb of Elizabeth. Zechariah needed to respond to the word, he needed to go home and play his part in the conception of their miracle baby.
But this isn't the only time that we see the need for people to play a part in their miracles. The man told to go wash in the pool of Siloam is one, had he not washed, no miracle. Even the man told to stand up, take up his mat and walk, what if he had just sat there? And what if Lazarus had just stayed in the tomb? That all sounds so silly right? But, oh, how often I have talked to people that were asking God for a breakthrough in their circumstances but were unwilling to follow through with what they knew they must do. We all are called to be walking resurrections, but that means that we must get up and climb out of the grave!
So my challenge to you this week is two-part:
One, what prayer have you stopped praying? Where have you lost hope? We are called to knock until we get an answer! If you're just knocking to see if anyone is home that's not praying! That's rubbing a lamp to see if there is a genie inside.
Two, are you responding to the voice of God, or are you just expecting Him to handle it all on His own? I watched my husband battle with this part of his transformation for years. He would weep and cry out to God to free him from his addiction but then would not take the necessary steps to walk into it. Was it God's will to free him? Absolutely, in actuality, he was sitting around in a broken trap. But there was a response required from him that for years he was unwilling to pay.
Now I know with Zechariah that price was minimal, go home and be with your wife really doesn't sound very costly and I'm sure that it wasn't. But what about the women with the issue of blood? Her cost was much higher. This woman who was deemed unclean, a woman commanded to not touch anyone, went up and touched the most famous religious figure in the world in the middle of a huge crowd of people! She knew she would be healed if she could only touch him.
Now in my writing this I don't want to come across as insensitive. I watched for years as my mom and dad struggled with infertility. I watched her sob over negative pregnancy tests more than a few times and that’s on top of the seven years that they battled with it before they adopted me. But had they not responded, had they not followed through with the call to adopt, then they never would have had me—their family would have been incomplete.
Beloved, God's plan might not look like your plan either in scope or in timing, but trust me when I say it is better than you could ever imagine. I encourage you this week to start praying the impossible prayers again and when His direction comes, follow. No matter where He leads, no matter the cost, just follow and see Him come through in ways you could never hope or dream.
He is good, dear ones. He is good and you are seen—in your desperation, in your hurt, in your disappointment, in your mourning, in your questions—you are seen, you are known, you are loved and He has not forgotten you!
Written by Amanda Strauser