“Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” – Joshua 21:45
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
Many of us can relate to having to wait for a painfully long time for God to answer our prayers, especially when the answer seems impossible. The story of the birth of John the Baptist gives us insight into why we should trust God while we wait. God’s ways and thoughts are perfect even though we many not understand them, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). Luke 1 tells the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah’s faith and trust in God against all odds.
Elizabeth and Zechariah were trying, waiting, and praying for a baby for decades. The wait I’m sure was very hard. I’m sure they grew impatient and in moments doubted God. Trusting Him I am sure was uncomfortable at times. But God had bigger plans for Elizabeth and Zechariah than they even imagined for themselves. They didn’t know what the future held, they just knew to trust God and obey Him. Luke 1:6-7 says, “They were both blameless, righteous, and observed all the Lord’s commands. But they were childless because she could not conceive and they were both very old.” It wasn’t that they were “bad” that they didn’t immediately see the promise fulfilled. At the same time, their blamelessness didn’t guarantee that they would obtain their desire for a child. By the world’s human standards, they were too old and Elizabeth was barren. However, their faith guaranteed God would bless them with His perfect plan which was more and better than they could have even imagined for themselves.
If they would had given up and not trusted God that they would one day have a baby, John the Baptist never would have been born to them. Although their wait was very long to the point of where it seemed next to impossible, they bore a son at the exact time where he could prepare the way for the Messiah. IF the couple would have had John earlier in life when they were “young,” John would not be the one to prepare the way for Jesus, and he wouldn’t have grown up alongside Jesus because the timing would have not fit.
Throughout the bible there is story after story about people having to fully trust in God’s promises and walk in faith to survive. When everything on the human end made the promise impossible to fill, THAT is when God intervened in the largest way. When we are powerless and 100% reliant on Him to provide, He is faithful and will show up in a big way. The magnitude of our faith will be matched by the magnitude of what God is preparing. This is what it means to live in faith: live uncomfortably with no safety net, no back up plan, and full reliance on God’s power and promises to provide.
The point here isn’t that Elizabeth wanted to conceive and later did. The point here is that Elizabeth wanted to conceive, couldn’t, but trusted that God had a bigger plan. The answer isn’t always what we expect but the answer is always better than we can expect when our trust and guidance is in the Lord. In her case, she did have a baby that would prepare the way for the Messiah and who would still be talked about to this day. However, God’s plan often plays out differently and instead of granting “our” request, he blesses us with more, better, and in different ways that what we envision.
God infinitely wants better for us than we can even imagine for ourselves. Stop and think about that. We imagine the MOST AWESOME CIRCUMSTANCES for ourselves, but God’s plan for us is EVEN better. WOW! That alone gives me encouragement and hope to be patient in affliction and trust Him. His timing is always perfect although it may take years and reflecting back to see it. No matter the situation-awaiting a new job, a spouse, a friend, a baby, forgiveness, happiness, salvation, He will provide. All we are commanded to do is trust in God, obey him, and he will be faithful in fulfilling His promises.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.” – Ephesians 3:20