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Thursday, August 23, 2007

When you struggle with doubt...

Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist. He was a Priest and served God blamelessly, and unfortunately Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth did not have any children. They had prayed and prayed a long time for God to bless them with a child.

To put into perspective the position of Zechariah, he was the Billy Graham, Beth Moore, or ______ (insert name) of their time. He was a man who followed God as closely as a person on earth could.

One day Zechariah was performing his duties as Priest by offering incense in the temple while people were praying on the outside. An angel of the Lord visited Zechariah and said,

"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. 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 from birth. Many of the
people of Israel will he bring back 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
fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to
make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Luke 1:13-17 NIV

What was his reaction?

Was it one of great joy because his prayers were heard and answered?

No, it was one of doubt. Zechariah responded by saying, “How can I be sure of this?” (vs18) This may seem like a logical reaction, but Zechariah was in the hollies of hollies, in the presence of God and he questions the words given to him. The angel responded by saying:

"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 proper time." (Luke 1:19-20)

My version is Gabriel thinking of all the nerve! And then he politely says, " Zechariah, don't you know who I am? I am Gabriel, one sent by God himself, but yet you doubt! For because of your silent!" (these humans can be so impossible!) Ok all joking aside.

With Zechariah’s background he knew about angels, he knew in the Old Testament they came and brought good news. God called Zechariah to have faith and trust. Many times we have the knowledge of God’s word but we need to make the journey through faith to trust. Trust says logically you have the knowledge, but faith is putting that trust in action. One is in your head the other in your heart.

For example, we share a confidence with a friend, we have the head knowledge that this is a close friend, but once you share your confidence you need to have faith to trust that the confidence will not be shared.

I love the story of Zechariah this story gives me hope. If Zechariah can doubt or question then I to have hope that God won’t give up on me. God silenced Zechariah because of his doubt, but through that God was restoring him back to the faith he once had. Circumstances can be God leading us to trust him, but we can only trust through faith. With Zechariah it was in the stillness and silence that God was cultivating and growing his faith.

To put this in contrast, soon after this happened there was a little girl who an angel came to visit and told her she would bear a child, and he will be the long awaited coming Messiah. Mary had great faith so she did not question the angel.

I am not implying Zechariah did not have great faith, but he did doubt and God restored him. This story is showing that Godly people can struggle with doubt, but God will work to restore those who doubt back to faith. Praise God he does not give up on the ones who love Him.

You can visit me at my personal blog: Laurel Wreath

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Blogger Sue @ praise & coffee said...

Amen! Great post Laurel!

I am so thankful He does not give up on me when I falter in my trust of Him.

Oh Lord, let us be like Mary who willingly accepted what the angel said to her.


August 22, 2007 at 10:04 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Oooh, good point. I really felt that story when I played Elizabeth in a church production a few years back. It was an awesome experience. I was so emotional just acting the part.

Can I finish your sentence? ...

"To put into perspective the position of Zechariah, he was the Billy Graham, Beth Moore, or Laurel Wreath of their time." ~ wink

August 22, 2007 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

" the stillness and silence God was cultivating and growing his faith"

Amen, there is hope for me. I needed to read this today!

August 22, 2007 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Bless you Laurel for being such a sweet blessing.

August 23, 2007 at 3:22 AM  
Blogger Terri @ In His Hands said...

Amen! This post gives me chills! It really is exactly what I needed to read today... and actually every day hereafter. lol

August 23, 2007 at 6:37 AM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

Oh, I am so glad that I didn't give up on me years ago, but called me back and restored my faith.
Some days I still doubt and 'double check' with Him, but He always finds a way to reassure me.

Thank you so much for sharing, my dear friend.

Blessings on your day and always.

August 23, 2007 at 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am continuously fighting with Doubt. My trust has been shattered time and time again. Because of this, I am in a situation that ONLY God can restore and make brand new. GOD HEALS ALL OF THIS...I have GOT to learn not to doubt quite as much as I do and learn how to replace that doubt with TRUST. I almost wish to have a Zechariah moment just to finally get to the finish line of restoration in all areas of my life! thank you for this article!!

August 23, 2007 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I'm so thankful that my Father walks me through my *doubt* moments!!! Your post has really touched a cord in my heart prayer today is that God turns my *doubt*..into FAITH and TRUST in my current situation.

August 23, 2007 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Ah, yes but doubt is part of the journey we go through, isn't it? We start out with so much head knowledge...eventually it has to drop a little lower into our hearts. Grace. It's beautiful how God works it out. He's bigger than all our doubts. Loved your article.

August 23, 2007 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Laurel--you hit me! Right in the head! I have such an issue at times with trust/doubt/worry. A big plateful. Totally not following what God would want...I have to work on it CONTINUALLY in my life. Thanks for this reminder! You are a blessing!

August 23, 2007 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I have always worried that had I been one of the 12 disciples I might very well have been Thomas. Sometimes faith is a struggle for me and the doubts just threaten to overwhelm. This really encouraged me Laure.

ps I tried to leave you a comment on your blog, but for some reason my computer gets all crazy when I visit you. I get that "not responding" message when I try to leave a comment. I know I must be doing something wrong, but often I try really hard to leave you a comment and simply can't. I didn't want you to think I wasn't visiting :-)

August 23, 2007 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

When I doubt, it is not typically that I doubt God is able, it is more of wondering if He could possibly do what He wants through insignificant me.

Thanks for this encouragement today!


August 23, 2007 at 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Wow Laurel,

I stuggle in the area all the time. The question I grapple with is this. Do I really believe what the Bible says.

There are so many promises in there for us as His children. I struggle to honestly grasp them and that they are meant for me.... Fully.

Great article. Wise indeed.

August 24, 2007 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

"Godly people can struggle with doubt, but God will work to restore those who doubt back to faith. Praise God he does not give up on the ones who love Him."

Wow, Laurel...this describes me to a T. He gives me the faith of a mustard seed every day. And, I'm so grateful that he never gives up on me.

August 25, 2007 at 12:27 PM  

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