Have you ever desperately wanted a relationship or even a child, but it seems like your time has run out?
Maybe you want to get remarried after the death of a spouse or a divorce and feel like you’re too old to be dating again? Perhaps you have never been married and fear that you won’t meet the right person?
Or maybe you are married and you and your spouse long for children but you have not been able to get pregnant for any number of reasons?
We learn from the very first chapter of the Gospel of Luke that Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, could not have children because they were “advanced in age.”
Zechariah was a priest and one day when he went to pray in the sanctuary, the angel Gabriel appeared to him to say his prayers had been answered and that Elizabeth would be pregnant with their son to be named John.
Zechariah was stunned to get this answer and questioned the angel, for it defied what he thought were their limits: their age.
The angel told him that as a consequence of his doubt he would have to be speechless until the “proper time.” Zechariah had a hard time accepting what you and I also have a hard time remembering: God has promised to save us and to show mercy and will answer our prayers.
The darkness of doubt
Our doubts can so easily shroud us in a darkness that prevents us from seeing that God has a plan and wants “to guide our feet into the way of peace,” though we are so easily tempted to walk the path of fear.
I was recently talking to a dear friend who would consider herself and her husband to be on the “older” side to be having kids since they are both in their early 40s.
However, they have been spending much time together in prayer, even going on a weekend retreat, to talk to God about if and how they are called to have children.
Joyfully telling me that they have heard in their prayers that children will come, but they just aren’t sure how, I sensed deep and abiding peace, even though much remains unknown.
What wants do you have? What doubts do you carry in your life? Have you placed them before God in prayer? How has God answered?
When John was born, Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit and offers a song of praise. Perhaps praying his words (Luke 1:68-79) can help guide our fearful feet into a way of peace:
Blessed be the Lord,
The God of Israel;
He has come to His people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
Born of the house of His servant David.
Through His holy prophets He promised of old
That He would save us from our enemies,
From the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
And to remember His holy Covenant.
This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham:
To set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship Him without fear,
Holy and righteous in His sight
All the days of our life.
You, My child, shall be called
The prophet of the Most High,
For you will go before the Lord to prepare His way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our Lord
The dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness
And the shadow of death,
And to guide our feet into the way of peace.