There are some of you asking some big questions of God right now. Maybe you have a lot of unanswered prayers like Zechariah and Elizabeth did. Read their story in Luke 1. It's a beautiful telling of God's answer to their life-long prayers.
We tend to think that God only uses the devoted, the pastors, the international missionaries, the gifted or the talented to carry out His plans. We forget that God uses all of us who are just submitted to Him. God wants our availability more than he wants our abilities.
Zechariah and Elizabeth waited a long time to become parents. They thought it would never happen, Elizabeth was considered barren. I would like to assume they never lost hope in the dream of becoming a mom and dad, but I bet there were some discouraging moments that held doubt and worry. We have a lot of stones that roll into our doubt-filled days when we don't see God acting on our prayers that we have laid before Him.
God, do you care?
God, do you hear?
God are you there?
What do these question have to do with waiting and preparing for the birth of Christ? In those silent words to God, in the silence we feel, in the silent nights don't we want to lean in and listen for God's whispered answers? We want understanding, we want purpose to end our pain, we want put an end to the endless wondering and the quiet of our days.
God's silence is sometimes awkward and void of life.
We want God's gifts but we don't worship the Giver. We forget to praise Him for what He has already done for us. We tap our toes at God as we look at our clocks, puff and sigh for His perfect timing to travel at the speed of sound. We look to Him for answers but we don't pray like we believe He is our answer. We think God will run out of blessing before He gets to us.
We become impatient and spiral into thinking He doesn't love us. We move from a worship attitude to an entitlement attitude. Our guilt and shame fill in the silence, which veils our hearts from seeing God at work, and robs us of simple trust in God who is always on our side.
Many times in the re-direction God brings His protection.
The birth of John the Baptist was perfectly timed. John, being the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, had an important role as the one who prepared the way for Jesus to begin his ministry. John, baptized Jesus in the Jordan river and experienced the awesome presence of the Holy Spirit in a refreshing way. He had to have heard the audible voice of the Father, who was pleased with what was happening that day. John's ministry prepared the people to receive Jesus' ministry.
First John, then Jesus.
We wouldn't have been ready for Jesus if it weren't for John. Why do we fear the worst from God when we don't hear from Him? And why are we so eager to pray away the very life circumstances that teach us the most about who God is?
When Zechariah received the news that his wife would bear a son, one who would have a wide-reaching ministry, one that will "ready a people prepared for the Lord", that shows high honors and a wide reaching plan for the gospel ministry that still continues today!
What do you feel God is preparing you to do? Are you making more margin to seek God in your preparing? Do the silent days bring fear of man or fear of God in you?
Give God room to work in your life. One way is to not assume that he's forgotten about you, or has left you hanging. God doesn't dangle your dreams in front of you and then say "Oh I was just kidding about yours!" No, our God loves to see you dream, to see you hope and when we have all our faith in Him to accomplish those dreams, that gives Him great pleasure.
"God knows where to find you to use what He has put inside of you." ~ Steven Furtick.
God can't forget about you, He can't forget about His loves. Ask God to reveal His great love for you and you too will be in awe of His revelations of how much and how wide His love is for you. He is deeply jealous for your love and adoration. Let your hearts prepare Him room to work in ways that only He can do in you and through you. He has already displayed His heart for you.
God is doesn't delay His best for you.
God is with us.
May He find us in awe and wonder of His working power and grace-filled silence.