January 14, 2019


excerpt by Maria Goff, guest columnist for Magnolia Journal

I know, I know. Christmas is over. But sometimes life brings you back a little, and this post is definitely one of those times. 

Two of my favorite characters in the Christmas story are Zechariah and Mary. Last year, I felt God tugging at me to be faithfully obedient like Mary. This year, as I read through Luke, I found Zechariah's character to resonate with my heart and current life season. I've been going through a lot of changes lately, and I know that a lot of it has to do with the ebb and flow of life but it never fails to take me by surprise, especially since I tend to seek peace and constancy in life.

And one of the things that I've found myself wrestling with is believing that God's plans for me are for my good and His glory. I never realized until now how I have doubted God's desire for goodness in my life. I viewed past losses and heartbreak negatively--which had led me to believe that God wouldn't want me to find happiness and joy again.

Zechariah wasn't a young guy by any means. And he and his wife, Elizabeth had been praying for days, weeks, years, and well, decades, for a child. They were barren for the long majority of their lives. And yet they were obedient. Zechariah carried out his duties as a priest and it was during one of this shifts that an angel appeared to him--out of nowhere.

Like most, Zechariah was afraid by this surprise visit. And it wasn't just the angel's appearance that scared him, but the words that came out of the angel's mouth. The angel tells him that his prayers have been heard. And that he and his wife will indeed conceive a son--a son that would prepare the way for Jesus' arrival.

Zechariah's fear leads him to doubt. He wasn't young, after all. How could he have a baby after all of these years?

I can't help but parallel my own life to Zechariah's. He and Elizabeth had been praying for years without the response that they had longed for--a baby.

And yet, here an angel had came down to Zechariah to tell him that his prayers had always been heard. That he would have the very thing he had longed for, dreamed of, desired for his whole life and marriage.

Zechariah’s questioning and doubts are such a classic Kiki response. Recently, I've been praying over my singleness and future husband. And let me tell you, these prayers have been pretty bold, pretty specific, and pretty honest. I essentially asked God to take away my longing for marriage if He didn't see it fit.

And I waited. I continued to pray. Continued to lift up my hands in surrender. Continued to sing and read His Word. And that desire didn't change or leave over the course of the next few days.

This is where the doubt entered in. I started to doubt that God would actually want to answer my long-held prayers for marriage. You see, I've been praying for marriage and for my future husband for YEARS. It's what I've wanted for as long as I can remember.

Much like a negative pregnancy test, heartbreak set me back--making me question if marriage was actually in the picture for me.

And yet through these doubts, I know that God's listened to my every prayer, walking me through my doubts and fears. He's stayed constant. And He's always known and done what's best for me, even if I don't understand it in the moment.

You know the verses that have held the most weight in my heart from this story? It's the words that come from the angel as a response to Zechariah’s fears and doubts. When the angel first appears, he tells Zechariah, "Don't be afraid." And when Zechariah doubts that he could have a baby, the angel says, "Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true on time—God’s time."

And I know that these words weren't spoken just to fill up space. They were said and spoken with care and intention and love. And most of all, TRUTH. Truths that we can depend on and truths that we can believe in wholeheartedly.

So I'm choosing to believe that He does ALL things for my good and His glory. And I pray that He would continue to reveal Himself and His hand in my life, even in the hard moments. Because He's got great plans--plans greater than I could even dream of or imagine.

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© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall