Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”
Luke 1:18-20 New Living Translation
Zechariah had a hard time believing what the angel told him. You can imagine how difficult it would be if you were in Zechariah’s shoes. He and his wife were well beyond childbearing years. Sure, God had done a miracle before for Abraham and Sarah. That was different, though. Right? It may have been difficult for Zacheriah to see himself as part of God’s mission in the same way as Abraham was. So, he expressed his doubt. He made sure the angel knew why this plan wouldn’t work.
The angel responded by taking Zachariah’s ability to speak away until his son, John, would be born. This action could be seen as a punishment. At the same time, though, God was giving Zachariah a clear reminder that He was at work here and bringing a miracle for a special purpose. It gave Zachariah the assurance that He was going to do a miracle for him and Elizabeth. That miracle would also have an important place in God’s plan to reconcile humanity to Himself. Every time Zachariah opened his mouth to speak, he would be reminded of what God was doing until the day it was fulfilled.
Sometimes, we may find it difficult to believe that God can use us in His plan of reconciliation with humanity. We may look back to the ways he has worked in the past and see those people as different, more special. We know our own shortcomings and liabilities. It’s can be hard to believe that God could actually us people like us for His plan. God often chooses the most unlikely circumstances to fulfill His mission, though.
God help us to trust that You can use unlikely people like us for your purposes.