“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.”
Zacharias and Elisabeth were now well stricken in years, and God had not seen fit to bless their home with children. They had prayed for God to give them a child, and now their answer finally came. What a powerful moment for this godly couple; after all those years God answered their prayers with the birth of a son!
We can learn much from Zacharias and Elisabeth as we consider their answered prayer. For many years, though God had not granted their request for a child, they continued to serve Him faithfully. Elisabeth had been barren for such a long time, but to their credit, this disappointed couple had not become bitter and resentful. They were both dedicated to and lived righteous lives before the Lord, with Zacharias faithfully executing his office as a priest. Others might have let their disappointments lead to ill feelings toward God or His work. Although God may not answer our prayers and give us what we want and think we need, we must trust His goodness and wisdom, and by faith accept His will.
We are also reminded that because God has not answered, does not mean He will not answer. The Bible does not tell us that Zacharias and Elisabeth were still praying for a child – only that they had at one time prayed. It is certainly possible that Zacharias had given up on the idea of a child, for when the word came that a baby would be born, he had a difficult time believing the good news. God not only knows what is best for us, His timing is perfect. Because God has not answered some prayer for us is no indication He will not answer in time.
Another principle we see illustrated in this great victory is that sometimes God answers later so that it might be better. Zacharias and Elisabeth prayed for a child and God gave them a miracle. Their son, John the Baptist, was not only a blessing to them, but also a major part of God’s plan. He was both the fulfillment of their dreams and a fulfillment of prophecy. Their desire for a child was satisfied, and God’s promise of a forerunner to Christ was complete. God is able to do even more than we ask. If God has not answered our prayers, it is not because He has not heard. He can be trusted to work according to His perfect will.