Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Week 2 Day 3
Today's meditation comes from Finding the Messiah: Seasons of Deeper Devotion by Jane Rubietta.
Really Quiet Time
What if we could witness Zechariah's wonder over the prophecy, his tenderness with his beloved wife of many years, this love of his life? What if we could see how the miracle, and the muteness, changed him?
Zechariah experienced some extended quiet time. Between Elizabeth's five-month seclusion and his inability to talk, no doubt the couple's social life diminished, as did their conversations. Zechariah was silent, and not able to speak even if he wanted. For a person accustomed to words, whether many or few, extended silence is torturous no matter one's personality. Even babies, who have no words, make all sorts of noises to communicate.
Silence offered Zechariah the space to listen to his own unbelief. Sometimes in silence we realize that our voices are tired, that we are weary of our own words and worries. We notice that our thoughts exhaust us and realize that we have nothing new or interesting to talk about. We tire of ourselves. In silence we wonder how people put up with our complaining and handwringing, and we see our own fear-based life in a new, quiet light.
Zechariah surely meditated with horror on his own failure and fear, reliving his question of Gabriel - "How can I know this for sure?"- and wanting to kick himself to kingdom come. But silence doesn't have to lead us to intense shame and then halt there. Silence can take us into new grace, a deep space, an internal Holy Place. There we realize that the Holy Spirit has overlaid all our wood with the gold of God's presence, the gilding of forgiveness, the fragrant aroma of heaven-scented love. There our dirge turns into praise, however silent it might sound.
... Maybe those days of gestation for Elizabeth - because Zechariah's evident lack of belief did not hinder God's deliverance on the promise of a child! - were also days of gestation for Zechariah. He had to listen deeply as the truth and glory of God, as the goodness and faithfulness of this God who delights to fulfill His promises (Psalm 145:13), as the sheer astonishment at God's favor filled him. Maybe, there in the fields and barn, in silent prayers under bright stars and in the dark of night, alone, the words and wonder filled the belly of his soul full of God.
What difference does silence make in your ability to listen to your soul, to God's Word, to the people in your world?