A priest should know better. A man representing the spiritual state of God’s people shouldn’t be so quick to question God’s promises. But for Zechariah, obedience became complicated. When the angel Gabriel told him he’d have a son, he responded with doubt: “By what will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years!” (Luke 1:18). Such happy news—such unexpected goodness—deserved a glad, believing response.
While Zechariah fully expected to encounter God in the temple, Mary wasn’t anticipating anything like Gabriel’s appearance. Yet she readily responded to the angel’s declaration with bold, simple allegiance: “Behold, the Lord’s female slave! May it happen to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Her alignment with God echoes Job’s response after he endured crippling loss: “Naked I came out from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. Yahweh gives, and Yahweh takes. Let Yahweh’s name be blessed” (Job 1:21).
It’s easy to view doubting or believing responses like these in a distant way. We don’t expect to experience such miraculous events or such crippling loss in our own lives. Because of this, we feel like small players in God’s plan—small players who need only small faith.
Regardless of whether we encounter such earth-shattering events in our lives, we did experience the most dramatic, miraculous act of God in history when Jesus died. We have been buried with Him and will be resurrected with Him (Rom 6:3–4). Because of this, we’re expected to put our hope and faith in God. Like Mary, we’re expected to fully align ourselves with Him; like Job, we are to bless Him in the difficult times. And finally, we’re expected to praise God when He shows us mercy we don’t deserve, as He did to Zechariah. How you can you boldly and sincerely step out in faith?