Keep on Keeping On


by Marilyn Ehle

Christmas“…there was a priest named Zechariah…he was serving as a priest before God…an angel of the Lord appeared…” Luke 1:5-11

We only hear about him at Christmas, but Zechariah should be a yearlong model for us. He was a man who loved God. He was a man who prayed. And he was a man who struggled with doubt.

When we are discouraged, when we live with the confusion of unanswered prayer, when we feel God is distant, it is easy to remove ourselves from the fellowship of other Christians, to neglect the rituals of the church and put the Bible to one side. And yet Zechariah whose deepest heart longing was unsatisfied, continued his spiritual duties. How he must have wondered if the God he prayed to in the temple was really a trustworthy God. We know that he doubted God’s promise even when delivered by the angel Gabriel.

During the months of his wife’s pregnancy, Zechariah’s prayers were silent ones. He could only commune with his Heavenly Father in the stillness of his heart, but I believe his long years of faithful service—even when he couldn’t hear God speaking or see God working—provided strength during those silent months.

Be careful to “keep on keeping on” during the days when God’s presence seems to have disappeared, when the Bible seems to contain promises only for others. Gathering with fellow Christians—many who are experiencing your own doubts—can be encouraging. Participating with your friends at the table of communion will provide spiritual sustenance. God will, in his good time, speak again.

God, give me courage to keep on when I don’t hear your voice or when I seem to be making no “progress” in my faith. Teach me again that you are near.

How has practicing the essentials of the Christian faith helped you during dark times?

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