“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the alter of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you are to give him the name John…”
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
The angel answered, “I am Gabriel I stand in the presence of God, and have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news…”
There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord. Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?” But the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”
Sometimes, in life, what we want for our lives just doesn’t come together. Hopes, dreams, plans-the blueprints we and our culture lay out before us, seem unattainable, dead.
I think of Elizabeth and Zechariah when this comes to mind. I think of Samson’s birth-I think of myself. For whatever reason, Elizabeth and Zechariah were unable to have a child for years. But in that time of closeness with the Lord-entering the temple of the Lord-Zechariah was met by the Lord, his wife’s womb was opened, and they had a child whom God used, to play such a significant part of history.
As long as I’ve been a Christian, my life has been about service to the Lord. In middle school and high school and college, I looked for ministry opportunities wherever I was. At Western I had a slight shift that occurred-I needed to focus entirely on school occasionally to finish my degree and surprisingly, that felt like barrenness. Sometimes, I feel like the things I’ve tried to hardest for have resulted in the same walls as Elizabeth and Zechariah. At nearly 30 years old, I have times and days where I feel like my dreams for ministry and my plans for vocation have both been truncated. But then I am confronted, as Zechariah was, with the truth of who my God is, the depth of his love, the solidity of his promises. For Zechariah, it was an angel who stood in the presence of God who spoke to him in such an intimate place as the God’s home-the temple. However, now, the curtain has been torn and God has made me his temple. The intimacy of my day-to-day conversations and my time in scripture confronts me with the truth of who my God is-that my God is Wonderful.