As a man, Zacharias feared... As a husband, Zacharias doubted... and as a priest, Zacharias had little faith. We see that while Zacharias was a righteous man... he was still a man.
Zacharias left for Jerusalem to serve at the temple, hoping once again that he would be chosen by lot for this was a once-in-a-lifetime privilege of burning incense in the temple. Elizabeth saw him off, without a second thought as she had done twice a year for as long as she could remember. Neither husband or wife had any reason to think that this trip would be any different from the countless ones before. But when Zacharias returned, he was speechless and could tell his wife nothing. He had been struck dumb and had to find a writing tablet.
Zacharias had finally achieved his dream of burning incense in the temple! What a joyful and fulfilling moment this was for him! Even a more glorious moment, the angel Gabriel had appeared to him and promised him a son, to be named John. John would be the forerunner of the incarnate Lord himself.
Zacharias had spent many years praying for a child a son of his own, yet the news did not come with wonder or rejoicing. He had picked what should have been the most precious moment of his life and instead allowed all his bitterness and disappointment to overwhelm him. Instead of heartfelt appreciation and joy over a long awaited answer to prayer, he did not thank Gabriel for the wonderful news rather, he dared to ask how he could know that the angel was telling him the truth! Gabriel quickly informed Zacharias that those would be the last words he spoke until after his son John was born.
Sure enough Elizabeth soon found that she was pregnant. Her shame had turned to joy and a great comfort must have filled her soul. In Luke 1:24... we learn that she immediately praised God and then secluded herself for five months. Perhaps she couldn't stand the thought of facing the same old looks and words from the neighbors and decided not to let them see her until they could clearly see she was pregnant. Perhaps she just needed time to prepare her mind for the glorious moments that were to come.
I believe that even though Zacharias had doubted, he truly was an example of a Godly husband. It was common in those days and in their society for a man to use a barren wife as accepted grounds for a divorce. Zacharias could have exonerated himself and divorced Elizabeth, he could have married a younger woman and had children by a new wife. I'm sure many other men would have taken that route but not Zacharias, instead he prayed Luke 1:13 and his prayers were answered! His love for Elizabeth clearly shines through the dark curse that they had both carried and endured for so many years.
After Zacharias had committed his problem to God, he simply kept on with the job God had given him to do. He did not stop praying and bail out because his situation looked hopeless. And neither should we! Our God is the God of the impossible! He delights in doing impossible things for us when He knows we will give Him the glory. It is so much easier to quit and run away from difficult circumstances, but that usually compounds the problem. God wants us to take our difficulties to Him in prayer, search the Word for encouragement and direction and then wait patiently for Him to work.
Have you been waiting for a prayer to be answered? Has it been weeks... months... or even years? Again, I say, "Keep praying and keep believing. Use this time to rejoice and praise God... it will lessen your burden... the answer will be so much sweeter when it comes... and I know it will come! So... don't give in to Satan's lies & don't ever give up!!"