“At just the right time, I will respond to you.” – Isaiah 49:8a
Elizabeth knew the other ladies were staring at her. She didn’t need to lift her head to see their proud eyes boring into her with contempt. Elizabeth was just like the rest of the women in the village – a Hebrew by birth and a member of God’s chosen people. However, she was different from them in only one way. It just happened to be the one way that mattered.
Elizabeth didn’t have any children.
For a woman to be barren in Bible times was the worst possible scenario. Offspring were considered to be evidence of God’s favor. The more children you had, the more blessed of God you were (or so they thought). Everyone viewed Elizabeth’s womb as cursed, for why else would God deny her the privilege of motherhood? Therefore, people kept their distance from Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah. Even relatives rarely stopped by to visit.
One day when Zechariah, who was a priest, was serving in the temple, he was visited by an angel. The angel told Zechariah that Elizabeth, though way past childbearing age, would have a son. Although it seemed impossible, that’s exactly what happened.
There is much more to this miraculous story. However, I want to focus on a powerful four-word phrase Gabriel spoke to Zechariah, which occurs toward the end of Luke 1:20. The angel said the prophecy would take place “at the proper time.”
You see, Elizabeth was never barren. She wasn’t incapable of giving birth. God had merely allowed her womb to be dormant until circumstances were in place for his purposes to be fulfilled.
Does the Lord seem silent on a particular issue in your life? Perhaps you are in the same situation as Elizabeth. You’ve been praying for years for someone or something, but God isn’t answering. Don’t let discouragement or doubt keep you from trusting in the Lord. Continue to seek him. Keep standing on his promises. Believe that God will accomplish his plans for you at the proper time.
(If you have a testimony of how God has answered a specific prayer at just the right time, email your story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear and share it!)