When God Changes the Equation

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How is it possible?

I wonder how many times I’ve said or thought those words? Life is never perfect but it helps if it is predictable.

For Zechariah, life was predictable. He fulfilled his priestly duties every day. And once in a while, when his turn came, he went up to the temple to offer incense to the Lord. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were growing old as gracefully as they could. Even their childlessness was predicable—they were long past conceiving children. Perhaps the bitterness and disappointment of that reality had faded in time, though it appears that they had prayed for a son (Luke 1:13) to carry on the line.

Then Gabriel came along and announced a change in the whole equation. While Zechariah was performing his duties in the temple, the angel of the Lord appeared to announce that he and Elizabeth would have a son in their old age. If Gabriel had appeared to me I probably would have doubted too.

Zechariah answered the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years’” (Luke 1:18).

Suddenly life stopped being predictable.

Odd how an unchangeable God can change an equation when it suits His purposes.

Predictability is comfortable, even when it is disappointing, as it was for Elizabeth and Zechariah before the arrival of the angel. Perhaps it is comfortable because we feel a sense of control over our lives. But when God changes the equation, unexpectedly and inexplicably, we realize once more that control is an illusion. At that moment we are faced with an eternal truth: God is in control. The impossible is possible. Predictability becomes unpredictable.

After all hope is otherwise lost, God shows again that the word “impossible” doesn’t belong in a believer’s dictionary.


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