68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn[c] of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit[d]; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.
Zechariah had prayed for many years that his wife would have children. Zechariah’s prayers were answered, and his faith wavered. However, God was indeed answering his long awaited prayer and not as he expected. In the event of his disbelief Zechariah was muted. Zechariah who was a great teacher, preacher and servant of God also needed to “Be still and know that God is God” and listen.
I have learned that God for me speaks the loudest in the silence. It is when I quit trying to say what I think God wants me to say and sit with God in silence, I too feel like singing of God’s wondrous grace and love. I think this story tells us that God will surround our fear and our doubt with grace. I was reading Richard Rohr’s devotion adapted from his book Contemplation in Action. Rohr said,
One good thing that silence and waiting has taught me is that our lives are always usable by God. We need not always be effective, but only transparent and vulnerable. Then we are instruments, no matter what we do. Silence is the ability to trust that God is acting, teaching, and using me—even before I perform, or after my seeming failures. Silence is the necessary space around things that allows them to develop and flourish without my pushing.
God takes it from there, and there is not much point in comparing who is better, right, higher or lower, or supposedly saved. We are all partial images slowly coming into focus, as long as we allow and filter the Light and Love of God, which longs to shine through us—as us!
These words spoke to me during my quite time and made me think, God used the silence and waiting on the birth of Zechariah’s child to prepare a space in his heart for the Holy Spirit to spring forth to shine bright. Rohr words on silence are words to remind me to slow down and of the importance of preparing my heart for the upcoming celebration of my Savior.