Posted by: mikenicholsblog | July 5, 2015

a couple of “moments”

I had a moment!  At one time or another, all of us have had a moment. Some of those epic times have been great and life changing, while others have been disappointing with negative consequences. On June 12th of this year, I had a good moment.

My daughter Lindsay and I were doing some climbing in the Angeles National Forest in California.  On the way to our entry point, we missed the exit, eventually traveling one of those nightmarish winding roads that took us up to 5,000 feet above sea level (I hate heights!).  Upon arriving at the top, we took some time to look around.  It was then when I noticed a scene that will live with me for the rest of my life.


In viewing the horizon, I was stunned by the fact I was looking down on the top of a majestic sea of clouds; we had actually climbed above them!  The stunning view reminds me (even today) of God’s creation — His power to create the clouds in all their beauty — and the fact that He is God and I can trust Him! What a moment!

A friend from Scripture also had a moment.  He was a priest, a godly man and the father of none other than John the Baptist. Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth were quite old when we meet them in Luke chapter one … and they were childless (reminds me of Abraham and Sarai).   On one particular day, Zechariah is performing his priestly duty of offering incense in the holy place. What is particularly interesting is that a priest was permitted to do this only once in a lifetime.  This day was without question one of the high points of Zachariah’s priestly career. And on this particular day, he had a moment. I am tempted to say it was a moment of far greater significance than you or I could ever experience. Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, appeared to him on the right side of the altar. It is not surprising that this encounter created a sense of fear in Zechariah.  In reading, imagine for just a moment how Zechariah must have felt.

 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.  And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.  He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
Luke 1:12-17

This older godly man is confronted by an angel and told that God has heard his prayer. He and Elizabeth will have a son! His name will be John (John the Baptist). What an encounter! What a moment!  And Zechariah responded with doubt. Verse eighteen tells us:

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.

Instead of looking with faith, Zechariah looked at himself and Elizabeth and doubted.  For his unbelief, Zechariah was unable to speak again until after the birth when Elizabeth proclaimed the child’s name to be John.  Zechariah confirmed the name on a tablet, and God loosed his tongue so he could speak again. Scripture says that he began praising God.

We don’t read a lot about Zechariah in Scripture, but he was a godly and significant man.  He was a chosen priest and the father of John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Savior.  He had a moment … and I can imagine a fair amount of regret from how he responded.  His story resonates with me. He prayed then doubted to the point of unbelief, but a gracious God gave him and Elizabeth a child.  There were consequences for his unbelief, but God freed Zechariah’s tongue and he prophesied of the coming of a Savior (Luke 1:67-80).

Zechariah’s moment wasn’t the end of his story. I am so glad that when God gives me moments and I struggle with doubt, He is gracious to forgive. I will always be reminded, when tempted to doubt, that God created the clouds I looked down on and the angel which Zechariah encountered.  I will remember, and be grateful for, the grace He showed Zechariah and constantly shows me.  What a couple of moments!

What about your moments?


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