The story is told of a “very old” couple, Elizabeth and Zechariah, who had been unable to have children. Both of them were godly in the eyes of God because they obeyed everything that God had asked of them.
Zechariah was a priest and went to the temple to burn incense. While he was there, an “angel of the Lord” appeared to him and he was filled with fear. Wouldn’t you be afraid if an apparition suddenly appeared in front of you? But the angel told him “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.” Luke 1:13
I don’t understand why a “very old” couple would still be praying for a son. As we age, our strength tends to decline and running after little children is usually not our idea of “retiring gracefully,” eh?
But they wanted a baby and kept praying for one and God answered their prayer with a resounding YES.
The angel then expounded on what the child would be like: “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:14-17
It must have been quite a comfort to Zechariah and Elizabeth to know that this child would be a joy and that he would also be filled with the Holy Spirit — a prayer that many Christian parents pray for their children.
This story is a comfort to me also on many levels. One of them is because it assures me that even when we believe that things are impossible, we should not stop praying because God continues to listen.
Sometimes God answers no and sometimes He answers yes. Other times God answers “wait.” For Elizabeth and Zechariah, He answered yes and their lives, along with the rest of the world’s, was changed forever.
To read the whole story, click here.
(Image courtesy of Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis)