Session 4

The surprising benefit of being honest about your doubts

From A Celebration of Advent: A 25-Day Devotional

Have you ever wanted to believe God would make something happen, but the circumstances overwhelmingly pointed to “no”?

If that’s you, you’re not alone. When it came to parenthood, all signs pointed to “no” for Zechariah and Elizabeth. Their prayers for a child had resulted in old age and empty arms. So when an angel showed up to tell Zechariah that Elizabeth was going to give birth, he understandably had some questions (Luke 1:18). 

“ ... the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord.’” - Luke 1:13-15

Zechariah was bold enough to let the Lord know he had doubts, but he wanted to believe. So Zechariah confessed his doubt, and God used it to grow his faith.

Imagine this — Zechariah sat in silence as he watched his wife’s belly grow for nine miraculous months of pregnancy, and the only person he could talk to about it was God. How much closer must Zechariah and God have been at the end of Elizabeth’s pregnancy?

God doesn’t call us to be certain but to act faithfully in the face of uncertainty. That’s what Zechariah and Elizabeth did when it came time to name their baby. God told them his name was John, so that’s what they went with (Luke 1:59-63). 

Zechariah and Elizabeth were faithful to listen to God, confess their doubts, and when it came time to act in obedience, they did.

Reflect: 
  • What does Zechariah’s life show you about God’s patience and love for us, even in our doubt?
  • Have you ever doubted God then saw Him at work in your situation? 
  • Is there an area in your life where you doubt God now? Have you told Him? 

4 of 25

Devotionals From This Study

to Discover More

Session 1

Four clues to who Jesus is to you

Though their circumstances were grim, Isaiah tells Israel a Messiah is coming who will redeem everything. Jesus is that Messiah, and...

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Session 2

God doesn’t break His promises

Psalm 89 is Israel’s response to what seemed like a broken promise. In 2 Samuel 7, God promises that someone from King David’s famil...

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Session 3

What are you waiting for?

You know that feeling when you have to wait longer than you expected to? Frustration builds as each minute passes. Soon you’re wondering ...

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Session 4

The surprising benefit of being honest about your doubts

Have you ever wanted to believe God would make something happen, but the circumstances overwhelmingly pointed to “no”?If that’s you, you’...

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Session 5

The importance of preparation

‘Tis the season for family gatherings and work parties. If you’ve ever hosted a holiday party, you know preparation takes time.Party prep...

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Session 6

When your situation seems impossible, remember this truth

How many times have you looked at a situation and thought: “There’s no way. This is impossible.”Mary had the same thought when Gabriel ca...

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Session 7

When the right thing is not the easy thing

Joseph had a choice when he discovered Mary was pregnant. He could publicly divorce Mary, which would have led to Mary being stoned. Or, ...

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Session 8

A blessed life is not the same as an easy life

Mary’s calling was a blessing, but it was also costly. She nearly lost her fiancé. She was disowned by everyone around her, and she would...

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Session 9

How to accept praise and stay humble

The calling God placed on Mary’s life wasn’t something she could hide. She was carrying a child. And not just any child — the child Israe...

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Session 10

How to find peace this Christmas

Micah prophesies a ruler will come from Bethlehem, one who will shepherd his people and bring peace.  “But you, O Bethlehem Eph...

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Session 11

Walk by faith, not by sight

When Caesar Augustus decided to take a census, the timing couldn’t have been worse for Joseph and Mary. They weren’t yet married, and Mar...

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Session 12

Jesus is not afraid of your mess

Despite what our nativities would have us believe, Jesus’ birth was not a rustic, peaceful delivery.“And while they were there, the time ...

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Session 13

Do you believe God is with you?

Jesus is “Immanuel” or “God with us.” Through Jesus, God came and walked among creation. Jesus made a way to restore our relationship wit...

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Session 14

This really is good news

Often, what’s good news for some is devastating for others. For example, a promotion is good news if you’re the one getting promoted...

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Session 15

God can do great things through imperfect people

When you think of the kind of people God works through, who comes to mind? Matthew 1 lists the people in Jesus’ family tree. And whi...

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Session 16

How you see Jesus shapes how you see Christmas

Christmas presses us all to answer the most important question: Who is Jesus? In Luke 2, the Holy Spirit leads a righteous and devou...

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Session 17

What you miss when you only know half the story

If you start watching a movie when it’s almost over, you miss the significance of certain events. Sure, you could piece some things toget...

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Session 18

What does it look like to worship?

Jesus was probably 1 or 2 years old when the wise men arrived. Still a babe, Jesus was unable to do anything for them. Yet they were over...

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Session 19

What happened when Jesus came to earth

It’s a common plot for Christmas movies. Girl bumps her head and wakes up in a different reality. She remembers everything, but no one re...

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Session 20

The most beautiful gift you can give this Christmas

“How beautiful upon the mountains    are the feet of him who brings good news...” (Isaiah 52:7). If you’ve ever seen a run...

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Session 21

Jesus is a different kind of king

Parents and teachers. Your boss. Your boss’s boss. The shareholders or the members of the board. We all have bosses — some good, some not...

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Session 22

Miracles don’t always look like we thought they would

When rescue doesn’t come the way we thought it would, we grow restless. We would love for the answer to our prayers to hit us like a bolt...

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Session 23

A reason to be generous this Christmas

The sound of a Salvation Army bell ringing, a child’s wish written in crayon hung on a Christmas tree, hot meals served to strangers on a...

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Session 24

The pull of home is about more than the holidays

Ever notice how we get more nostalgic during the holidays? We go about our lives for 330 days, then December hits, and the opening notes ...

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Session 25

Celebrate Christmas all year long

Long after the tree is packed up and the lights are put away, the spirit of Christmas can live on in us. Christmas reminds of God’s faith...

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