Enlarged in the Waiting
Waiting creates space. It creates stillness.
Outside things stop, lesser things are pushed aside.
We can either fill this space in our hearts with believing prayer which increases faith and trust, or we can fill it with worry and anxious projections and imagined scenarios.
One empties us, the other fills.
That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Romans 8:25 MSG
We can let waiting empty us, or we can enlarge and grow.
It all depends on what we do with the time.
Zechariah, father of John the Baptist and High Priest, had been waiting a long time. He and his barren wife prayed for a child year after year. At this point Luke let's us know they were advanced in years (read: well past having children). Then, one year he got the honor of going into the Holy of Holies to pour out the incense as a hope for the people of Israel. I can't imagine his thought process. Did he want to ask one more time for a child? Did he have hope left to pour out in that Holy place?
I think Zechariah had simply silenced hope because it hurt too much. It's evidenced in his unbelief. When Gabriel tells him the good news, Zechariah responds with doubt. Gabriel didn't take too kindly to his unbelief. He silences it, literally saying that Zechariah would be "unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words..." (Luke 1:20).
Sometimes we need our list of doubts silenced.
I find myself in this story and it's not what I want. I don't want to let my heart grow barren with waiting, but ripe with belief and expectation. I have to remember and rehearse to keep my soul awake.
Expectant prayer keeps my soul awake. It helps me see. I can fill my heart with a list of doubts or a list of praises. I can choose to see, to recognize the things God is doing.
We can fill the emptiness of our hearts with believing prayer and overflow with expectation, or we can fill it with doubt and the lies the enemy is quick to whisper in our ears.
What will you choose?
I love to dig into Bible stories for the hidden treasures God has placed there. Here's a nugget that I love:
Zechariah's name means the Lord remembers.
And if that isn't enough, his son John's name means God is gracious.
His cousin, Jesus, his name means God is salvation.
No matter how long you have been waiting... God has not forgotten, the Lord remembers, God is gracious, our God is salvation.
As this year closes, let's let hope sink in deeply and renew some prayers for things that our hearts have labeled hopeless.