Click here to read Luke 1:5-25.
Luke starts off by telling us about Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth:
“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.” Luke 1:5 NIV
Luke wants us to know that Zechariah was a well-respected and upright man, and not only that, but he and his wife both came from strong lineage.
Even though they were godly people, they still had their struggles. One specific struggle that Luke wanted to point out was that of infertility. Even with today’s medicine, infertility still poses an issue for couples who long to have children. Zechariah and Elizabeth probably tried their whole adult lives to have a baby, and now in their old age, they had probably given up hope that Elizabeth could ever conceive, and let alone, carry a child to term. It just didn’t seem possible. But they never stopped praying.
“Both of them were 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.” Luke 1:6-7 NIV
If God is So Powerful, Why Doesn’t He Just Answer Our Prayers Right Away?
Do you ever wonder why God hasn’t allowed you to do or have something that seems so common to everyone else? You’ve prayed and prayed for it, and it just doesn’t seem to make sense.
This passage reminds me of a story about another couple, in the Old Testament, who also struggled with infertility: Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 11:30).
Had both of these couples been able to conceive and grow a family in their prime, like everyone else they knew, their stories would not have made it into the Bible. But because they were unable to conceive, and because God made it possible for them to conceive way past the normal child-bearing years, God’s power to make the seemingly impossible possible was revealed.
Think about it: if a 90 year old woman, who had never been able to have a child, conceived, carried the child to term, and delivered a healthy baby while remaining healthy herself, don’t you think that her story would the be number one news headline?
Even today, this story just makes no sense! At least until you see that God is behind the scenes.
God Uses Impossible Situations to Reveal His Power!
We must always remember, that the purpose of the Bible is not to just tell us a whole bunch of stories about people who lived a long time ago. The story is not about the people. It’s about God.
The reason for the Bible is so that we can know God. We can know his mighty power, his love, and grow in our faith in Him.
This story teaches us that God makes the impossible possible, He has a plan to fulfill His promises, and that we should never doubt Him.
God Makes the Impossible Possible
God sent an angel, Gabriel, to tell Zechariah during his temple duties that Elizabeth would have a child.
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son…” Luke 1:13 NIV
It’s important to note that the angel said your prayer has been heard. God always listens to His children. He may not answer us right away, but He knows our heart and He knows our desires. We must trust Him in all situations, and know that He does things in His own way and His own timing:
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
When God makes the impossible possible, He wants and deserves to get all of the credit.
When Elizabeth realized she was pregnant, she said “‘The Lord has done this for me,’ she said. ‘In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.'” Luke 1:25 NIV
God Always Has A Plan
“He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 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. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 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.” Luke 1:14-17 NIV
God always has a plan and a purpose to everything He does.
When He finally allowed Elizabeth to conceive, it was a perfectly timed pregnancy and birth. Their son wouldn’t just be a normal kid with a normal life. No, he had a plan for this kid! He would be the one that would prepare the way for the Messiah.
Never Doubt God’s Power To Change Your Circumstances
“Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.'” Luke 1:18 NIV
In disbelief, Zechariah question the angel: “How is this possible?”
I don’t know about you, but if an angel appears to me and tells me something crazy, I think I would believe him, but having never been put into that situation, I guess I don’t really know.
What this story teaches us though is to never question God. If He says it, it is true! God always does what He says He will do.
“The Lord is faithful to ALL His promises and loving toward ALL He has made.” Psalm 145:13
In Genesis 11:12-15, Sarah also doubted her ability to conceive and bear a child.
Yes, in our humanness, things seem like they are impossible.
The Lord’s response to Sarah was “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
The answer is no. Nothing is too hard for God!
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Application for Today
God can come in and be the hero of your story, just like he did for Zechariah and Elizabeth, and Abraham and Sarah. God can enter into any area of your life where you are struggling, where God seems quiet, where you just don’t know what to do anymore.
The God of Zechariah and Elizabeth is the same God that empowers us today!
Even if you think your ship has passed… God can still make a way. God works in those …s. It’s when you think all is lost, and you surrender it to God one last time that God rewards you for your faithfulness. Trust me when I say, the ship you think has passed can circle back if God tells it to!
Continue to walk in His ways and never give up hope. Never stop praying.
In my life, it’s in that moment, where I finally let go of what I wanted so bad, surrendered it to God, that He provided.
Maybe you haven’t found the person you are going to marry, and you wonder if there’s anyone for you; maybe you and your husband have been trying to conceive; maybe you can’t seem to land the job of your dreams or find the house you’ve always longed for. In all these situations, don’t give up hope, know that God has a plan – and that plan includes using you to show others how great He is!
He is able to make the impossible possible!
“What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV
Do you need God to enter into your life today and make the impossible possible?
What is something that you’ve been waiting on, hoping for? What area in your life do you feel is incomplete?
Use the comments section below to chime in by answering the questions above, or share your own insights about this passage, or tell how God has done the seemingly impossible in your life.