What a surprise! The book of Luke in we are told what to do while we are waiting. Hmm! How not to talk ourselves out of our blessing! Double hmm! How to be great in God’s eyes, not the world!
Zechariah and Elizabeth. Priest and wife. Blessed in marriage, loved by God and respected in their community. The one thing they lacked was children. One day, Zechariah gets his turn to burn incense at the altar in the Temple. The whole nation waits for him to come out and share God’s word. He leaves the altar, after a few words with Gabriel, dumb.
Now imagine Elizabeth, cousin to Mary, busy at home, preparing their dinner. She is excited at his chance to serve at the altar, fulfilling his Priestly call. Elizabeth had gone to the well to draw water, greeting the young wives, chattering about the latest wedding plans and new wives, children and mothers. She praises the Lord inspite of her barrenness, focusing on God and delighting in waiting. The young women most likely gossip about her, trying to understand how she remains so full of joy. She rushes home and waits for Zechariah with the proverbial, ‘So my love, how was work today?’!
Zechariah staggers in, dumbfounded, literally, from his chat with the angel Gabriel. He probably regrets his own words of doubt at the good news he received that day, literally kicking himself, because there is not much else he can do! Elizabeth’s joy puzzles him, as she understands why he is dumb. She hums as she looses his sandals from his feet and dips his feet into water. Zechariah settles back into a chair, watching in bewilderment as Elizabeth fusses over him with food and water.
Elizabeth and Zechariah spent years waiting, trusting God and hoping for a child of their own. The angel Gabriel announced the impeding birth of their son, John. Their son would become John The Baptist!
The waiting this couple had to live with resonates with me. Their attitude gives me hope. I understand now, more than ever, that God’s checklist does not match mine or society’s. This comes as a relief and a pleasant surprise. In the waiting, God in His infinite wisdom defers to what I think I need, as He builds up my character, resolve, wisdom and discernment. This brings me joy and rest in Him. My attitude determines my altitude, as it did Elizabeth and Zechariah. I have e very reason therefore, to cast away doubt and take up hope and trust in God. He loves me enough to watch and sing over me! (Zephaniah 3:17, Psalms 37:4). Penning off as I take comfort in His Word and wait in the hallway once more, with purpose and confidence.