A Time to be Silent (Part One)

10 09 2014

Due to unexpected circumstances, the friendships forged here have been neglected. I miss you all more than you can imagine and pray for you often.

*****

I began reading through the book of Luke, looking for new, amazing things about Jesus. Because He was the focus, I nearly skipped the first chapter. It’s about John the Baptist’s parents. Nothing relevant for me there, right?

Guess again! Here is what I would have missed:

Zechariah was a priest; his wife of the line of Aaron. Both were righteous  before God, walking blamelessly in all the Lord’s commandments and statutes (verse 6).

Yet, Elizabeth was barren.

I imagine her wincing whenever Psalm 127:3 was recited:

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

No doubt she wondered at this, carefully scrutinized her heart for hidden sin…and like Job, probably had friends who eagerly ‘helped’ her to do so. Cruel things were said that cut her sad heart deeply. There had to be something wrong. What was she hiding?

Scripture tells us there was nothing wrong with her. “Blameless,” it states.

How many years did she agonize over this?

“What’s wrong with me? Why hasn’t God given me a child?”

As a couple they, surely, prayed together in earnest.

I wonder how old she was when she finally resigned herself to her childless state. Did she hope against hope until menopause set in?

In their culture, a woman who could not bear children had to learn to bear the reproach, the stigma, of barrenness – the whispers, the rude and thoughtless comments, the bold accusations.

She had borne this for a lifetime, for now she was old.

What Elizabeth could not have known was that she had been set apart for a single – and immensely important – purpose. She was chosen to give birth to the forerunner of the Messiah. Her child would prepare the way for Jesus.

Her time was coming, but was not yet.

I suspect that Elizabeth went through a major identity crises. She and Zechariah probably visited many doctors and tried every ‘surefire’ remedy and method of the day.

They ‘fished’ all night…for many nights!…and ‘caught’ nothing. 😉

It wasn’t until Gabriel showed up on the right side of the altar of incense that everything changed.

And it was here that this story became a life-changer for me as well.

As I read the next bit, I was a little perplexed. Gabriel’s response to Zechariah’s question, “How do I know this is true?” seemed to be overkill on the part of the angel – kind of like, “What, Dude? Do you want a piece of me??”

Mary asked the same question – and got a very patient explanation.

Was it Zechariah’s words…or his attitude that caused the angel to render him speechless?

All his hoping, praying, and effort had come to naught.

Until now.

Now that he was old, no longer spry and energetic – now God would answer his long-forgotten prayers? Really?

Thanks a lot!

What should have been joyous news, perhaps instead opened an unsuspected wound in Zechariah’s heart. Down deep was a cauldron of bitterness, anger, and resentment.

Zechariah would have to work through these issues with God in silence. None of it would be voiced; would rob Elizabeth of the joy of her long-awaited answer to prayer.

His poisonous emotions would be resolved between the Lord and him alone.

*****

There is a lot of conjecture here, to be sure. None of this can be substantiated from Scripture. Of this I am aware. However, I’ve discovered that there may be a great deal of truth to what I sense went unspoken by the Lord. It bears great relevance to my own story.

You’ll have to come back tomorrow to hear the rest of the story! It’s pre-scheduled, so look for it!

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10 responses

11 06 2015
By Faith, Gerbil… | Lessons by Heart

[…] Zechariah, it can seem like too little, too late. We’ve lived with the stigma of barrenness for so long […]

13 09 2014
Kari Anne Dorstad

Great insight on Elizabeth and Zachariah, I’m glad your writing again! blessings
,

13 09 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks Kari! See you on Monday.

12 09 2014
Susan Irene Fox

Lovely to see you back. I, too, thought Zechariah must have had some “attitude” to be rendered silent. Interesting….

11 09 2014
vonhonnauldt

Interesting perspective on Zechariah. Had never really thought of him like that.

It’s so good to have you back, dear sister.

11 09 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thank you so much for the card! I miss everyone here immensely. Things are happening fast so there’s little time to do more than read the occasional post.

I hadn’t thought about Zechariah like this, either. Does make me wonder…!

Bless you.
\o/

10 09 2014
cshowers

I look forward to part 2, Tami.

God Bless You,
Cheryl

11 09 2014
lessonsbyheart

Hey! How have you been? I read posts from time to time, but rarely had time to comment. I’ve really missed the community here.

\o/

10 09 2014
Diana Rasmussen

Hey Tami, “I’ll be back…lol!” Good to ‘see’ you again, love you girl! Diana

11 09 2014
lessonsbyheart

😀 The last six months have been intense. I think it’s nearly over now. Oh, I hope so!!

\o/

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