Our second blog post of the month/year and I believe it calls for applause because a win is a win, whether big or small and it should be celebrated lol. I haven’t written in a while but it feels amazing to be back here.
This past week I have been reading and meditating on the book of Luke and despite having read it before, am always in awe of how the Holy Spirit teaches and brings out new revelation each and every time. Indeed the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12.
Luke chapter 1 begins by giving us the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth who were both from a priestly lineage and loved the Lord wholeheartedly, devoting their entire lives to serving Him. They were commended as righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Serving God does not equate to a life free of pain, sorrow, trials and tests. To think that God owes you a smooth sailing ride because you are living in obedience to Him is a wrong mind-set that robs from your walk of faith. Every Christian in the salvation journey will undergo the baptism of the sufferings of Christ and this season is inevitable because it has its purpose. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything James 1:2-4. In the midst of it all, our greatest consolation is that we don’t walk alone because we have the assurance that in the storms, God is with us, watching us, ordering our steps and carrying us. And after we have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called us to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us” (1 Peter 5:10).
Despite Zechariah and Elizabeth being childless, they never stopped seeking, praying and most importantly they never stopped serving God. As a matter of fact, their long life prayer was answered while Zechariah was in the middle of service. This is such an encouragement to never stop serving and seeking God even in those times when we think/feel we are alone and He is not answering our prayers. Salvation is a beautiful, exhilarating and life changing journey but truth be told it’s not always glitz and glam. It has its hills and valleys moment. Moments you’re on the mountain top celebrating victories and testimonies and answered prayers: the highlights of your walk of faith. Then the other moments when you’re deep in the valleys, drowning in fear, battling unbelief and fighting raging wars within your spirit and your environment.
Moments you’ll pray fervently for certain requests and some will be answered almost immediately with joy and thanksgiving but some will take years and years of still praying, still hoping, still believing and still holding onto the faith. In such moments, we are called to never take our eyes away from Jesus because at His appointed time, He makes all things beautiful. And as rightly put in Habakkuk 2:3 for the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
And true to God’s word and timing, God answered Zechariah and Elizabeth, “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. After hearing God’s word, the answer to their prayers, you would expect that Zechariah’s reaction would be one of joy and pure bliss, elated and over the moon for hearing the words he had literally waited all his life for. But sadly the first words that come from his mouth were filled with doubt and unbelief. Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” This reminds me the incident in Acts 12: 5-17 when Peter had been arrested to be executed the following day so the believers gathered together to fervently intercede for his release and God intervened and sent an angel to set him free. The first stop he made was at the house where they had gathered to pray for him. When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
Why did they disregard Rhoda’s statement? Why did they think it was his angel? Why were they astonished? I think simply put, they prayed but didn’t have the faith that it would be answered. And that’s how most of us play out in our journey of faith especially in the moments we have prayed continuously for a season but the answer has not been delivered. After a while something in us changes and it starts to feel like we are praying to tick a box but deep down, the doubt has been rooted in our hearts and minds.
The bible is very explicit that whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” There is no room for doubt in a believer’s life because it has its consequences. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. . Oh Lord that you would help our unbelief.
Due to Zechariah’s unbelief, he was muted and was unable to speak until the birth of his child, possibly 9 long months of silence and observing the miracle of God slowly manifesting in front of his eyes. He was only able to speak when he came in agreement with the word of God concerning his testimony as he named his child. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
There is no greater honor than God choosing to reveal His glory through His servants who are willing to be used by Him. Sure it doesn’t come easy, the wait will be heart wrenching, the voices of doubt will be screaming out loud and the mocking of the crowds will be heightened. But if you hold still, anchored on God and the credibility of His word which never fails and never returns void, in the end you will come out with such a testimony that will astonish everyone around you.
Trusting in God sometimes looks like foolishness in the eyes of man because He chooses things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chooses things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. (1 Corinthians 1:27). Noah looked like a fool when he built the ark and he was mocked and ridiculed but he kept his faith knowing and trusting in who had spoken to him. In the end, all the scoffers and mockers drowned in the very thing they mocked him for. Abraham left his family and all he knew to follow the voice of an unknown God, into an unknown territory and I can imagine how his family members reacted to the news. Even when God told Him that He would make him a father of many nations and that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars, in his old age, he believed the Lord, and it was credited it to him as righteousness.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were old and barren but by the power of God they conceived and gave birth. The Lord did it for them, showed them His favor and took away their disgrace among the people. And in the end, they all had songs to testify and glorify God for the great work He had done through them. Not only were they given a son, but they were given such an extraordinary son 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 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. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 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.”.
John grew, became strong in the Spirit and he lived such a radical life in pursuit of his purpose. He was the voice of one calling in the wilderness nudging people to prepare the way for the Lord. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin and he heralded the Messiah. The people were amazed at his deeds but most importantly, he received the highest accolade when Jesus testified about him as the greatest. Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Matthew 11:11.
Am here to encourage you beloved, do not doubt God, do not doubt His word and most certainly do not doubt His power and ability. Nothing is impossible with God: if He has said it, He will most definitely do it. Before we were formed in our mother’s wombs, God knew us. All the days ordained for us were written in His book before one of them came to be. God is never late, God is never early; God is always on time: He works in His ordained and appointed time. We are the ones who are always in a hurry when we want it done on our terms in our own timing, then when it doesn’t happen, we cry out there is a delay. But is it ever a delay if from the word go we didn’t know of the exact timing of the occurrence? Who should dictate what entails a delay? Us or the one who creates the time and the timings? I believe until we know the expected time of arrival, then we really can’t tell if there is a delay, that can only be God’s job and we must strive to leave it in His hands.
As I write this am also preaching to myself because severally I have cried to God and lamented at Him for the supposedly delay in answering some prayers, I too like Zechariah and Elizabeth know the pain of waiting to hold a testimony. But our God is so gracious because He knows how to wipe our tears and soothe us even in the waiting season.
And to you who is also waiting, for a job, a promotion, hand in marriage, salvation for your loved ones, healing from the loss of a loved one, breakthroughs in any area…the list is long and endless, this is my prayer for you: May you be found walking in obedience to God and His word. At His appointed time, may your results speak for you, louder than your own voice because there is a sermon only results can preach. May you never tire of laboring in prayer and the word until you get your results. As you wait, may you never live a powerless barren Christian life but may your life command super extraordinary results. In the name of Jesus. Amen!