The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.” --Luke 1:19-20
It seemed impossible to him. How could he and his wife, who had been childless and were now way past their child-bearing years, find their home filled with the sound of an infant? It was hard for him to keep from asking the question that ran through his mind like a stream through a dry waterbed. So, he blurted out his question. He asked, “How can I know that this will happen since my wife and I are so old?” It was an impudent question when the angel stood right before him.
When we’re visited by angels, there is a natural curiosity about the veracity of their messages. Yet, at the same time, there might be a holy and hushed reverence – an awe – a waiting with bated breath attitude – a certainty of belief that is born of the very other-worldly nature of the visitation. Zechariah’s skepticism overcame his natural tendency of trust and reverence, and the testing angel restored it by taking away his ability to speak.
There is much in our lives and in our own minds and hearts that make us doubt the truth of God’s presence at times. Then, just when the Holy One makes an appearance in our lives, we rely on our thinking mind rather than our eyes of faith, and we find ourselves sputtering out impudent queries with the noise of an old car trying to warm up as it chugs along on a winter morning. It is then, that the testing angels stun us with the very thing that will increase and ground our faith. Are you poised to learn from the testing angels’ gift when your impudence has proved stronger than your faith?
O God, shower your grace upon me like the softest gentle spring rain that gives the thirsty ground its drink.
These meditations by Renee Miller first appeared at explorefaith.org
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