Yesterday, during a sermon about Zechariah’s visit from the angel (Luke 1), Cade asked me what the pastor was talking about.

I whispered, “He’s saying that God did answer Zechariah’s prayer for a baby, but not right away. Not for a long, long time.”

“Why not?” asked Cade.

I leaned over to whisper an answer in his ear, then realized I didn’t really have an answer. Why didn’t God give Zechariah this baby when he was young? Why the big delay? God waited so long that Zechariah had stopped checking his watch!

Maybe God wanted to eliminate any doubt that he was working supernaturally. Or maybe he wanted to mature John’s parents for the task of raising him. Maybe it was a timing thing–so that John would come just before Jesus. Or maybe God wanted John to have really old parents so that he could be orphaned at a young age, and  move away from the polluting views of the community into the wilderness.

We don’t know why God pushed this pregnancy out on Zechariah and Elizabeth’s timeline. But we do know that God isn’t random. Zechariah may have been chosen for his priestly duties by drawing straws, but this is not how he was chosen to be John’s father. And God doesn’t forget about our prayers, either. It didn’t suddenly occur to God that he had forgotten to give Zechariah a son.

God’s timing is mysterious. But rather than checking my watch for the next fifty years, maybe I should remind myself that God hasn’t forgotten, and he isn’t drawing straws. He has heard my prayer, and that needs to be enough.

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