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
A job. A spouse. A baby. Approval for a car or a loan. Graduation. Paying off all your debt. There are so many things in this life that we desire, but don’t always come to fruition. Why do I not have a job, yet? I’m qualified. I have a Bachelors and a Masters. What about a baby? Lord, I did things your way. Why can’t we conceive?
Sometimes the answer to those questions and desires is simply: timing. If only we could see the picture the way God does. Isaiah 55:8-9 says His thoughts and ways are not ours.
Let’s take a look at the scripture above in Luke 1:6-7. Here, we find Elizabeth and Zechariah–both righteous in God’s eyes, but yet, without a child and desiring it. These two simple verses tell us a great deal about our own desires.
- Simply put, it’s okay to have desires and longings.
- God doesn’t withhold from us because we are not pleasing to Him and reward because of good works. If that were so, Elizabeth would have had a child much earlier in life when she desired it. As the text reads, “she was old.”
- God has a bigger plan with your desires than you, but conceals them for a greater purpose.
- Romans 8:28-29a — “All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and have been called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.
As we continue reading the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah, we see both the unfolding of God’s plan and Elizabeth’s desires. In Luke 1:13-17, the birth of John is foretold. JOHN THE FREAKING BAPTIST! Let’s look at some of the statements Gabriel says of him:
- He will be a joy and delight to you.
- Many will rejoice because of his birth.
- He will be great in the sight of the Lord.
- 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.
- He will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah.
- He will make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
WOW! Do you think Elizabeth could have ever imagined that such a boy would come from her womb! She couldn’t even fathom having a child (and clearly neither could Zechariah–but more on that later). God is a good Father and His plans are better. If you can’t see it now, then better is not here. If it didn’t work out before, then that wasn’t the best. Look, God knew Elizabeth’s desires and she trusted Him, but He had a specific plan for her and her child that could only happen at a certain time. Who is John? The cousin of Jesus. Who is Jesus? The Messiah! Why was the timing so important? Because Jesus was going to step on the scene and change EVERYTHING, but He needed someone to lead the way. That someone was John–the child born to Elizabeth in her old age. That was in #Godsplan.
Let’s go a step further and talk about who gave birth to Jesus. Mary is the only one to whom an angel said, “You who are highly favored” (Luke 1:28). She was a virgin, and we don’t have a record of her pleading for a child, but she is chosen to carry Jesus. And as proof of what would happen, Gabriel informs her that her cousin who is old and was said to be unable to conceive was going to have a child and is in fact in her sixth month ( Luke 1:36).
Notice, my friend, Mary was not told of Jesus until six months AFTER Elizabeth was told about John. There’s timing. There’s timing. How can a virgin conceive? Impossible and that’s why Mary’s question was so poignant. BUT, where all hope was lost, God showed up in Elizabeth’s womb and it was necessary for that timing to reassure Mary of what God said would be so. As Gabriel said, “For no word from God will ever fail” (Luke 1: 37). And that, my friend, is what you have to keep in mind. He says He will give you the desires of your heart if you delight yourself in Him (Psalm 37:4). He says He is a good Father and delights to give you good things (Matthew 7:11). We just have to trust Him.
The One Thing You Must Not Do When Waiting
As I mentioned earlier, we have to trust God even though we feel He’s forgotten us or that He’s not fair. We must not lose hope.
The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” Luke 1: 19-20
Essentially, Zechariah was rebuked for not believing the words of the Lord. But don’t be mistaken, he was still righteous in the Lord’s sight. However, years of praying had grown weary on him. (v. 13 “Your prayer has been heard). Maybe, his once heartfelt prayer had now turned into one of obligation or routine. So much that when the time came to receive it, he couldn’t believe it. Don’t grow weary and don’t stop praying. Remember, it’s about the timing.
Prayer does not change God; it changes me. –C.S. Lewis
Daniel was a man who prayed (Daniel 10:12-14). Although shorter in length, his prayer was not answered because of the timing and what was going on in the unseen world. God has a plan. He hears your desires. However, He is sovereign and we must not forget that. Sometimes, the reasons our plans and desires do not come is because they are waiting on a specific time, but if we knew all the details, we might not be able to handle it (John 16:12). Your desires are good. It’s not always about getting our wants at the moment, but sometimes is more about what He is doing inside of us during the time of waiting. His plan is to conform us into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Believe every. bit. of. his. Word. in your life.
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.
Until Heaven, if not sooner,