The community did not see this righteousness, they only saw what they didn’t have. Children.
Their dreams came, their dreams left, their dreams were past possibility. You know the story. Then the message came in escalating shock waves:
1) An angel appeared–yikes! (always people were terrified when they saw them)
2) The angel knew Zechariah’s name. (there goes feeling like a nobody and looked over by God all these years)
3) He says “your prayer has been heard”? (You mean that prayer I gave up on years ago as my body became too old?)
4) The angel was Gabriel! (Scary! Means something big is going down!)
5) Gabriel was sent from the very presence of God. (In THE very presence of God Almighty?!)
They were going to have a baby.
Now this raises umpteen questions and even high eyebrows. How were these folks who were “very old” going to deliver this child and raise it? Doesn’t matter. Nothing matters when it comes to the joyful pain of redemption.
Redemption. It seems to always be there in the economy of God. Sometimes we hear the miracle stories. And sometimes we don’t. Sometimes a James gets put to death with the sword (Acts 12) while at the same time there’s a miraculous angelic deliverance for Peter and John (also Acts 12).
The bottom line is that God hears and God knows. The righteous response is like Zechariah and Elizabeth–trust even when hope has passed. Redemption might not be on this side of heaven, but God hears. God knows. God loves. And God redeems.