Focal passage: Luke 1:13-25
Skepticism is a virtue in our modern age. Sometimes it can be disguised as discernment or critical thinking. However, beneath the surface, skepticism can be motivated by a cynical or jaded heart. Have you ever seen a homeless person on the street? What was your first thought? How did you feel about them?
Skepticism can reduce our compassion for others and dampen our trust in God’s faithfulness. When the angel appeared to Zechariah and spoke of Elizabeth’s conception and the role their son would play in preparing the way for the Messiah, he was skeptical to say the least. “‘How can I know this?’ Zechariah asked the angel. ‘For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years’” (Luke 1:18).
In one sense, Zechariah’s bewilderment was understandable. His wife was beyond childbearing age. How could she conceive and give birth? But his question revealed more than he intended. It revealed the quality of his faith. The angel, Gabriel, saw this and responded by both demonstrating the authority of his message and by disciplining Zechariah.
Zechariah’s problem was that he didn’t trust in the promises or faithfulness of God. His skepticism made him miss what God was doing in his midst. His faith only went so deep.
Try putting yourself in Zechariah’s shoes. Has your soul become so jaded or numb that you miss what God is doing in your life? Maybe God feels more distant than He used to. How can you and I avoid the same mistake as Zechariah? By looking for God’s faithfulness in unexpected places.
We can trust that even when God seems distant, He is still working. Jesus said to the Jewish leaders, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17). He never stops working, though His work isn’t always obvious. Don’t let skepticism be a coverup for a lack of faith. Take God at His word, because He will always come through.