Have you ever been in a position where you are longing for something to come?
For me, I really don’t have to think too far back. Let me take you to January 2020; it’s a boiling hot day in Florida, and for some strange reason this seemed like the perfect place to run a marathon. Yep, you heard, a marathon. You maybe sat there thinking what on earth has this got to do with longing for something to come. Well, let me share with you, after mile 10, I was certainly longing for the finish line!
Throughout the whole run, it just felt like it continued to go on and on. No matter how many steps forward I took, the finish line still seemed impossibly far away. I was longing for it. Time went by, and still felt no closer. Eventually though, after many hours of pushing on I saw the finish line, and with all I had left pushed on and crossed. The feeling I experienced as I came over the line was unexplainable, sheer joy washed over me. Hours of training, and hours of a marathon all eventually led to a moment of pure elation and joy.
The reason I share this with you today, is because I believe that this image is not too dissimilar to 2000 years ago. The Jews had experienced a silence for over 400 years. They heard nothing for such a long time, they were longing for something to come. Then, finally something did;
“The time arrived for Elizabeth’s child to be born, and she gave birth to a son” Luke 1:57
Elizabeth had been barren, knowing that she could never have children. In the culture, this would have brought great shame to her. Yet, in this we can see that God is gracious and uses her to bring a son into the world. Surely this was a moment to celebrate?
“Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had increased his mercy to her, and they came to celebrate with her” Luke 1:58
People heard, and came to celebrate. Years of silence and waiting, and eventually God through his mercy gave something to celebrate. Could you imagine the feelings they were experiencing? The birth of John the Baptist came after years of longing and waiting, they had prayed for it to come, and now it had come true.
God was in the silence, and came through for Elizabeth and the Jewish people. Maybe you’re feeling like God is silent right now, but scripture reminds us that he is there, and that there is reward in the waiting.
Written by Tom Bailey a member of Hope Church