The power of silence
Luke 1: 62-66 “Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbours were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.”
For 9 months Zechariah had not been able to speak, since Gabriel had silenced him and may have even made him deaf because the people had to make signs to communicate to him.
Imagine with me, God placing you into a silent world for 9 months.
It is easy to just see this silence as a punishment from Gabriel to Zechariah for his questioning unbelief. But I think it is so much more than that.
Imagine with me 9 months of no noise, of another world, probably one where he is aware it is just him and God now. A season where there was time to meditate on who God is and what He has done. Realising that God is a covenant keeping God. Imagine God filling the silence with His presence. Imagine God filling his unbelief with faith. Imagine the intimate moments of prayer and worship of his heart towards God. This was a productive silence and I know that because of what would come out of his mouth as soon as his voice came back and his ears were opened. Out of Zechariah came the name of his son, which was given to him by Gabriel and then an amazing song of praise.
The verse in Isaiah 30:15 was certainly true for Zechariah, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
So many of us are in the last few words of that verse, we ‘have none of it.’
We are approaching now this fun-filled, loud, festive noise of songs, cheers and anything but silence!! Activity has increased, our minds are flooded with ‘to do’ lists, we have been shopping, planning, discussing, creating and at the same time we are getting more and more fraught, anxious and restless.
“We are going to have a quiet Christmas this year” Yes right!
But it doesn’t change. We will then go into a new year and we will be doing the same. Our lives are filled with anything but silence. And for us Pentecostals well, silence can appear a dangerous thing, so we fill the gap with a song, a superlative or a story anything but silence!
Maybe someone needs to hear today that they are facing a huge decision, a game-changer for their life, they don’t know what to do but a decision will have to be made and yet the one decision that is of utmost importance is to be silent. For in the trust of silence there is strength.
Maybe the silence of Zechariah is not a punishment but an invitation. It certainly can be for you and me today. There are things God can only do in the silence. Enter it today.