13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.Luke 1:13–14, 18 (NAS)
14 “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 18 Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.”
Why is it so hard to believe God? Maybe not for salvation, but for almost every prayer-worthy challenge we face here on earth. No sooner then we might desperately plead with God to handle our issue, one he’s likely resolved for us before, we revert to hand-wringing. Here, face to face with Gabriel, standing in the Holy of Holies no less by luck of the draw, after God’s principal spokesman delivers amazing news, Zacharias foolishly asks the question “how will I know this for certain” and sets long odds.
We may sing “God will make a way when there is no other way,” but do we really mean it? We are reminded that Jesus said to Martha on the passing of her beloved brother Lazarus, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40 In this case, God forced the issue on Zacharias by giving him nine months in silence to learn his lesson. Maybe the Lord also wanted to eliminate any vocalized skepticism that he might be inclined to voice in the interim.
We all have perennial problems that plague us, each time spawning fears and trepidation. Time and time again we’re delivered. Time and time again we fret. It’s about time to adopt a zero tolerance posture and believe God from the start, present company included.