The husband is ripping out the floors in our house. This means noise, dust and chaos. Last night he spent a few hours chipping away at the glue the builders haphazardly slathered on to hold down the cheap linoleum (that I will not miss in any way). Didn’t make for a good writing environment.
Right now, blessedly, there is quiet.
And exposed subflooring.
Kate says: privilege.
Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has visited
and provided redemption for His people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David,
just as He spoke by the mouth
of His holy prophets in ancient times;
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of those who hate us.
He has dealt mercifully with our fathers
and remembered His holy covenant—
the oath that He swore to our father Abraham.
He has given us the privilege,
since we have been rescued
from the hand of our enemies,
to serve Him without fear
in holiness and righteousness
in His presence all our days.
– Luke 1:68-75 (CSB, emphasis mine)
The priest Zechariah hadn’t been able to speak for months. At least nine of them, but probably more like twelve. He had doubted God’s messenger, the angel Gabriel. He hadn’t been able to wrap his mind around his wife, long past the age of childbearing, conceiving a son.
So he was quiet.
Life went on, as it does. I imagine he attended to his responsibilities as best he could. Elizabeth must have gotten used to his silence. Sometimes he would write things down and share them with her. But no noise. No whispered words of affection. No angry grumbling. No exclamation of wonder the first time he felt the baby kick.
Then, finally, his vocal folds begin humming again. His tongue is loosed. He breaks into song.
Zechariah knew what it was to serve God. The day he met the angel, he’d been inside the Holy of Holies. The only time in his life he’d get to slowly, reverently pull back the curtain and step into the sacred space. He was doing his duty when the Lord rock his world. Everything turned upside down.
The enemy is not always without. More often, it is within. Doubts, fears, insecurities, jealousies, lusts. Zechariah lived at a time when his people were oppressed by a foreign power. Like everyone else, I’m sure he longed for the iron bars of Rome to be broken by the Messiah, the promised King. But in those long months of quiet, I wonder if he heard God. I wonder if their relationship deepened. I wonder if Zechariah learned to look a little farther, see a little deeper.
Certainly he knew that the Lord, the Rescuer, was coming.
What a privilege that was.