How God Deals With Doubt
When Zacharias hears the words of the angel, Gabriel, announcing that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son; and not just any son, but a son who will “turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God”; he doubts. He says, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” Now, I’m not blaming him for doubting. He had every reason to doubt. How does God respond?
Does God disqualify Zacharias and Elizabeth because of his doubt? Does God kill Zacharias because of his doubt? No. God works with Zacharias in spite of his doubt. Zacharias loses the ability to speak until the baby is born; a consequence of his doubt. I know, I know…some of you are thinking that Zacharias’ consequence is Elizabeth’s blessing but let’s not go there….
We’ve already read that Zacharias and Elizabeth were people who loved God and obeyed Him. God deals very gently with doubt with His people. God is gracious and merciful and understands that we are human beings with sinful natures. In this case, God knows that He is supernaturally stepping into the world of Zacharias and Elizabeth in a way that Zacharias is totally unprepared to comprehend.
There is a consequence for the doubt but that consequence is also used to reinforce the miracle of this birth. Zacharias’ silence when he returns to the people in the temple leaves them wondering what happened to him and gives credibility to his story of seeing an angel. Then, when the baby is born and Zacharias’ ability to speak returns we read that “fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him. (Luke 1:65-66)
When we begin to see God’s activity working around us, it might be natural for us to doubt, but let’s never deny what God is doing. Let’s trust Him to do what He says He will do.