A couple of days ago while reading Luke chapter one the word ‘restless’ jumped out at me and I thought about the increase in our society of mental health issues caused by anxiety and stress. I had also read on the same day about ‘church commitments’ being in the top five pressures faced by over a thousand church-goers and I am sure a wider poll would take this number way beyond that figure.

The priest, Zachariah is introduced to us in the opening of Luke’s story. As a priest he had drawn lots to enter the sanctuary and burn incense. He and Elizabeth had obviously prayed for a son but old age and the natural order of things had produced unbelief in him. But, during this surprising encounter with the angel Gabriel, Zachariah was assured that their prayers had been heard.

We may not have the same experience that Zachariah had with Gabriel but we do know what it feels like to face the challenges of day to day living. And as we negotiate the twists and turns of life He has promised that we can know His presence and power every moment of every day.


Our fellowship with Jesus is so precious and I am regularly encouraged that He is with me to protect my mind from the ‘bad news’ propagated every day in society. The people waiting outside the sanctuary for Zachariah had become restless. “What was keeping him so long?” Anxious thoughts, restlessness and impatience can eat away at us and rob us of the joy of experiencing Him in significant healthy ways. Learning what it means to live in a place of rest-filled trust in God is always the better choice.


We know the story and its outcome. Unbelieving Zachariah was unable to speak until after his son John was born. He was unable to speak about this sacred moment in the sanctuary with Gabriel. The unbelief experienced by Zachariah was unfortunate and the restlessness in the people outside was no less real. Without a doubt there is wisdom in this story as it speaks to us about listening to our God and when we have heard His words we can trust Him implicitly to help us to be rest-filled while waiting for His way to be fulfilled. To quote Eugene Peterson….

“Prayer is the disciplined refusal to act before God acts.”


God is going to bring His purposes to fruition and is looking for His people to be alert and trusting, rest-filled and patient. For those struggling with anxiety and stress today listen and embrace the reality of the words of our Good Shepherd,

“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” [2]

Have your way Lord Jesus!

Luke 1:5-23 The Message
[2] Psalm 23 The Message