For many of us waiting for breakthrough is hard. Our hearts are on the line. We are trusting God with everything we have and holding on in anticipation for the answers we have been longing for. Yet, days turn into years and our breakthrough hasn’t yet come. In this place, hope begins to fade and we can easily experience a hope deferred accompanied by a disappointed heart.

There’s no getting around it nor is there any way to soften the reality that life is actually unfair. Often we are subject to the consequences of people’s choices or the unexpected happens. Maybe it’s staying single longer than you liked or finding out you can’t have children or maybe you or someone you know gets cancer. These circumstances are out of our control. It’s the nature of living in a fallen world.

For Zechariah and Elizabeth, waiting and hurt was an all to familiar experience:

Who were Zechariah and Elizabeth?

 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. Luke 1:5-7 (NKJV)

Both Zechariah and Elizabeth came from the Levite tribe of Israel. They were accustomed to the way of life that was devoted solely to God and reliant on him:

At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today. That is why the Levites have no share or inheritance among their brothers; the Lord is their inheritance, as the Lord your god told them. Deuteronomy 10:8-9 (NIV)

Zechariah and Elizabeth were the equivalent of today’s pastors, ministers, and worship leaders. They lived an upright and honorable life before God. Theirs was an exemplary Christian life, so to speak. Yet, they are barren. For any woman or couple, barrenness is difficult but when you have no reason for your infertility it’s just that much harder. The temptation to pull away from God or get caught up in disappointment, offense, and hurt is justifiable and let’s be honest no one would have blamed either of them if they did. Years went by with no children while the people around them had their own families.

In those days, childlessness was considered a disgrace thus this beautiful couple endured much gossip, judgment, hardship and more. Life had dealt a hard hand to these devoted lovers of God. Years upon years went by. Both of them grew gray and still no children. They would have sought God’s face, prayed earnestly.

The supernatural encounter

So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord…then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense… Luke 1:8-9,11 (NKJV)

Amidst the turmoil of their emotions, Elizabeth and Zechariah continued to commit themselves to serving God. God’s favor and heart were towards them so he set them up for a supernatural encounter. Not only did Zechariah get told that God would give him a son but he saw the archangel, Gabriel. That’s pretty awesome!

Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” Luke 1:24-25 (NKJV)

God answered and he redeemed Elizabeth. No longer would she be looked down upon, sympathized or pitied. Her womanhood was restored to her. Her response was to worship the Lord. She allowed herself to experience the first five months of pregnancy in the secret place with God and her husband – possibly a time of intimacy, preparation, and worship.

Waiting for breakthrough – lessons to apply today

No matter how tough life is we serve a God who is loving, true, faithful, and kind. Yes, he is sovereign and almighty yet his face and heart are turned towards us. He notices us and hears our hearts cries. We can’t always control the cards life gives us, but we can control our response to it.

Does this mean that our feelings of disappointment, hurt, anger, frustration, despair, etc…, must be suppressed or considered irrelevant? Not at all. We are to take these emotions before the Father because they are real and important. We deal with them and move on one step at a time.

So, what do we do when we are waiting for breakthrough? We take a similar position as Zechariah and Elizabeth. We continue to stay focused on our Lord. We persevere in our faithfulness because we are choosing to love God for who he is. Our circumstances should not define our love and devotion to God. Instead, it should be the other way around. Our love and devotion to God should impact and change our circumstances.

  • We continue to trust God and seek his face. We ask him to help us see life and others through his eyes. This helps us to have a clearer perspective while keeping offense at bay.
  • We worship. When all else fails, worship. Worship lifts our eyes from ourselves and our circumstances and onto the one who is Faithful and True.
  • We give thanks. Thanksgiving is more than thanking God for the obvious things in our life. Through gratitude we offer our praise to God, stir up our faith, and acknowledge his faithfulness. For Elizabeth, thanksgiving came from a heart that encountered a God who never disappoints and who is always faithful. Her heart overflowed with joy. She had not been forgotten. Not only was God giving her a son but he was also allowing her to be the mother of the greatest Old Testament Prophet.
  • We encounter truth about the Father’s heart. When we turn to God during our hardships and “life’s unfair” moments, we encounter a God who is compassionate and understanding towards us. He doesn’t pass judgment but extends grace. With love, he works on our hearts, uprooting those false beliefs and misconceptions we have about ourselves and Him. He heals our hearts deeply while revealing the depths of his character. We realize that who we are is held in high regard by our Creator. Who we are is worthy. God has more faith in us than we realize. He reminds us of the beauty and worth he has placed in us – he calls out the beauty and gold of who we are.

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