For nine months, Zechariah had to write or use hand signals for everything he wanted to say. If he wanted to talk with his wife he had to write it down and get her attention so that she could read it.
Zechariah’s silencing by the angel may have made life harder for him, but it didn’t interrupt God’s plan. Those nine months became a kind of retreat for Zechariah and Elizabeth, a time for reflection and deeper prayer. Together they learned God’s ways. And together they let God prepare them for the next chapter of their lives.
This is how God deals with us, too. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect or always get everything right. He knows that we will make mistakes and sometimes misunderstand him or doubt him. The good news is that as different as his ways are, he wants to teach them to us. And even when we get it wrong, God can use the situation to take us to a deeper faith, just as he did with Zechariah.
God wants all of us to use this season of Advent to deepen our faith in him. Zechariah doubted, but over the next nine months, his life changed, and his faith deepened. Like Zechariah, we are men and women of little faith. So let’s all tell the Lord that we want to believe more deeply. Let’s ask him to remove all our doubts.