By Pastor Nathan Richardson Heartland Community Church
What fear and doubt do
Zechariah was visited by an angel in Luke 1 and he was “gripped with fear.” I am sure at some point in your life you have been scared, whether watching a movie, a friend surprising you, being held at gunpoint or being told that you have cancer. This can be a scary thing.
Fear can be paralyzing, not knowing what to say or how to react. Some people when scared have a reaction to fight back with words or in a physical way. Others react with flight by running away. These are very common reactions when we are afraid.
Fear can lead us to do a lot of things. Fear can hinder our faith. But it also can cause us to avoid. Let me explain. I am afraid of roller coasters. The combination of the height and speed just seem unnatural to me. At times, fear leads to I don’t. My fear of roller coaster leads to the fact that I DON’T ride roller coasters.
The angel told Zechariah that his wife was going to have a baby. Zechariah basically laughed off this comment and said, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Zechariah was filled with doubt. He didn’t believe what the angel was sharing with him. Zechariah’s doubt led him to say I CAN’T.
He knew that he and his wife had never had children and why would that ever change at his age. Zechariah was more focused on what he could not do rather than what God can do. Is not this what we do so often by focusing on our own limitations, imperfections, failures, hurts and doubts. We rely on what we can’t do as our only experience. Zechariah was right, he would never be able to get his wife pregnant. But there is something at work in this that is more powerful than Zechariah and Elizabeth.
Due to his doubt, Zechariah had his voice taken away. So he could not go home and share this news with his wife. But I am sure that Zechariah was ecstatic a few months later to hear his wife was pregnant. God provided this couple with a miracle and even though Zechariah and Elizabeth could not do it, Christ could, and Christ did, and he still can.
Faith is bigger than our self. We might not believe it, but that does not mean it cannot happen. Because of my limitations I don’t have great faith in myself. Because of others imperfections I don’t have great faith in others. But I do have a great faith in Christ and his ability to transform myself and others. Do not let your fear of something tell you that God won’t. Do not let your doubt tell you that God is not able. In fact I think we should doubt our doubt more than we do our God.
Philippians 4:13 says, I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Focus on the second part of that line. We only have strength through God. Matthew 19:26 says, Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”