“What a fool,” I thought as I read Zechariah’s response to the angel Gabriel’s news. An angel of the Lord appeared in front of him, and he asked this question – How can I be sure of this?

In his mind, he and his wife Elizabeth were too old. (He wasn’t really a fool, but in that moment, he focused on his earthly limitations over what God said he would do. In his defense, the Bible says that he and his wife Elizabeth were righteous before God. Luke 1:5-7)

However, I can just imagine Gabriel’s indignation when he said “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.”


The result? Zechariah was not able to speak again until that very child was born.

God put an angel in front of Zechariah. An angel who had just stood in the presence of Almighty God.

Oh, how many times have I questioned God’s word to me? I may not have seen an angel standing before me, but God’s word is clear.

In contrast, what did Elizabeth do? She didn’t hear from the angel. But she gave God the credit. Luke 1:25 says “The Lord has done this for me. In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”


Six months later and about 100 miles north in Nazareth, Gabriel shows up on another mission. This time to a young virgin named Mary who was Elizabeth’s relative.

Mary’s response? Not “how can this be,” but “how will this be?” A few moments later, she demonstrates her faith when she says “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” No human reasoning. No asking for a sign. Just, let it be done.

When Mary later visited Elizabeth, she summed it up perfectly.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)

Wow. These two stories teach us what it’s like to just trust—no questioning what God said. No assumptions. It will be what the Lord says it will be. And know that the good that comes to us is the Lord’s doing.

So, the next time I question something God says to me, I’m going to think of Zechariah and Mary.

  • One old. One young.
  • One mature. One inexperienced.
  • One who’d likely seen God work many times.
  • Both knew the scriptures.
  • One led by human reasoning. One spirit led.
  • One who saw through a “how CAN this be” lens. One who saw through as a “let it be as you say” lens.

Let us, too, see from Mary’s lens and respond accordingly. Because nothing — not age or physical condition — is impossible with God.

Let the miracle of the Christmas season lift your spirit today.