«But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer isheard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John’ “ (Luke 1:13).
When Gabriel, one of the highest-ranking angels in heaven, came to give Zacharias the good news that his wife was going to bear a son, Zacharias was officiating before the altar of incense on Israel’s behalf. It was a privilege and a great honor that a Levite priest usually only had once in his life. The news came when he least expected it, but while he was faithfully working for God. that the angel told him was impossible, humanly, and no one could doubt the divine origin of this event. Do you have a prayer that God has delayed in responding to? Should that discourage you as far as your total commitment to His service? Zacharias and Elisabeth did not lose their faith, they did not reproach God because of His apparent silence,and they did not stop serving Him. They trusted and waited.
‘To every sincere prayer an answer will come. It may not come just as you desire, or at the time you look for it; but it will come in the way and at the time that will best meet your need. The prayers you offer in loneliness, in weariness, in trial, God answers, not always according to your expectations, but always for your good.”—Prayer, ch. 16, p. 188.
The fear that Zacharias felt when the angel appeared to him was reasonable; it was a natural, spontaneous reaction. He doubted that the news of a son being born to him was true, since by that time his wife would have been about seventy years old (Luke 1:18). If you want God to answer your prayers, keep on trusting that He can do the impossible, in His own time. Because he doubted the words of the angel, Zacharias was struck dumb until the child was born. Be careful about asking for a sign; God takes your words into account.
The words of Gabriel, ‘Do not be afraid” are often the first words an angel pronounces when they communicate with human beings. One of their ministries is to remove fear from the heart of humanity (see Hebrews 1:14) and put in its place the peace that passes all understanding (see Philippians 4:7) (see SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 673, 674, 677).
The angel’s announcement should have filled not only the family’s heart but also the nation’s heart with joy. They should have all been waiting for the fulfillment of the promise and preparing themselves for the Lord’s first coming.
‘When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most.”—Proper, ch. 11, p. 102.