“How can I be sure of this?” (Luke 1:18)
It’s a simple enough question, I suppose. And not terribly out of line, at least on the surface, given the circumstances. Except when you consider that the being standing before Zechariah was actually and angel, who had just told him that “your prayer has been heard.” It certainly echoes the sentiments of a man who would come before Jesus years later: “Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
What caused Zechariah to doubt? Was it that the miracle seemed too hard to perform, given his age, or that he didn’t really believe God loved him enough to perform it? In other words, did Zechariah have a hard time believing that God could answer his prayer, or that God would answer his prayer?
Julian of Norwich once wrote: “For some of us believe that God is all power and able to do all, and that he is all wisdom and knows how to do all. But that he is all love and will do all, there we stop. This ignorance is that which most hinders God’s lovers.”
So, what is it for you? What makes it hard to believe that God wants to answer your prayers? What makes it hard for you to believe that he wants to turn your mess into a miracle? Do you believe he can? Do you believe he will? Just pay careful attention, because sometimes the miracle he is performing is not the exact one we are asking him for. Sometimes he is doing a bigger, deeper work.
Forgive us, O Lord, when we
doubt the goodness of your heart and the power of your love. Give us confidence that you do, indeed, hear
our prayers and are committed to giving us the deepest desires of our hearts—yourself.