18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision inthe temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
How often do we pray for something and wait on God for something and yet when our prayers are answered (in His timing-not ours!) we still question and wonder how this could be. This has happened to me over the last few years in the circumstance of my job. I graduated in May 2009 and that Fall I was hired into my perfect job. The one I had hoped for, dreamed about, and prayed for. Unfortunately, soon after I started, I realized that my 1 year term position would be phased out for the next year. This was confirmed in February (you can read about it here) and I was devastated. There was no possible way I would be able to stay in my position. It was hopeless....as hopeless as two seniors having a baby! Yet, nothing is impossible with God. A few weeks later there was a resignation and I began to question, just like Zechariah "How shall I know this?" because for God to hear and answer my little prayer was just so unbelievable. In His perfect timing ... even though I was told I would not be returning for the coming school year, I was offered a permanent track position just a few months later (you can read about it here). It was unbelievable. Something only God could have done. Sometimes. We. Just. Don't. Get. How. Big. God. Is.
MacArthur reminds us:
When God chooses, He can speak and act in massive ways. When He chooses, He can create the universe in six days. When He chooses, He can flood the entire globe, drowning the entire human race except for eight souls and do it in 40 days of rain. When God chooses, He can send a shower of fire and brimstone and bury the city of Sodom, the city of Gomorrah and the cities of the plain at the south end of the Dead Sea. When God chooses, He can part a sea so that two million people can walk through on dry land and a following army be instantaneously drown as the sea which was parted closes on them. When God chooses, He can with His own finger write His law in stone on a mountain that is shaking with fire and brimstone. When God chooses, He can feed an entire population of people with food that He creates on the spot as He did the Israelites in the wilderness. When God chooses, He can make water come pouring out of solid rock. When God chooses, He can cause the formidable walls of an ancient city named Jericho to fall flat to the ground. When God chooses, He can open the ground and swallow people up. God can do astonishing, powerful, massive things.
God can do astonishing, powerful, massive things. He can and He does. Not only does he do astonishing, powerful, massive things but He does these things with ordinary, common people.
God chooses and God uses. In His way. In His timing. For His purpose. We don't always understand but God is sovereign and He holds the plan. The plan that is far superior to anything we could imagine. When Zechariah heard that his prayers were going to be answered instead of being filled with excitement and joy, he immediately felt doubt and uncertainty. For this reason, Zechariah was punished:
We pray and we ask and then sometimes we are surprised by God's response....even if it is exactly what we are asking for. I think sometimes we honestly forget the magnitude of what is possible with God. How useful are we to spread God's news if we don't believe in what God can do. He can make the impossible-possible. He can do all things. He can and He does.
Four years later, and multiple changes in our school staffing situation and I am still teaching at my dream job. I prayed for it, I asked God for it and yet I have been filled with doubt and uncertainty as I waited on God to reveal His plan in His timing. I didn't think it was possible. I was wrong. I'm so thankful for God's mercy and grace as I struggle with believing that He can do the impossible.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Judges 13-14, Psalm 81, John 13