Today is my 4th day without a voice. No, this is not a political statement, I mean I am not able to verbalize my thoughts. I was fighting a cold, stressed my vocal chords and wound up with laryngitis. The first day without my voice was funny. People, my children especially, would laugh at my voice; I would laugh at my lack of voice. My husband joked that this was an early Christmas gift to him. By day two, annoyance with not being able to communicate set in. By day three, I realized that I had to make the best of the situation. I have always been a “glass half full” kind of gal, and for those of you familiar with Living Your Strengths or the NY Times Best Seller, StrengthFinders my third top strength is “Positivity.” So, I started to pray about how I could put this muteness to good use. I researched figures presented in the bible as mute and learned that most of those people were struck mute due to lack of faith. Not really the uplifting message I was looking for. But as I delved deeper into The Word, this is what I discovered.
Picture Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, wife to Elizabeth. When the angel Gabriel foretold of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Zechariah was doubtful. He was struck dumb due to his disbelief and his speech was not returned until the prophecy was fulfilled.
Now this, along with the myriad other individuals in the bible who were also struck dumb due to lack of faith made me start to wonder if God was trying to tell me something. I read the Gospel account further and learned that once John was born, on the 8th day when he was to be circumcised and named, Elizabeth said “He is going to be called John” (Luke 1:60). This surprised everyone because none of their relatives had this name. When Zechariah, still mute, was asked what name he wanted to give is son, he requested a tablet and wrote, “John is his name” (Luke 1:63). Immediately Zechariah’s voice was restored and he began to speak, praising God. His first words were not about himself or his son. Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, said “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.” (Luke 1:68) He first wanted to give glory to God. Zechariah did not praise God for ending his muteness or for giving him a child in his old age. He praised God for sending a Savior and for keeping his promises to Israel. Zechariah realized that God had not done this to make Zechariah and Elizabeth happy, but to keep His covenant with Israel. Here is the rest of The Canticle of Zechariah:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.
He has raised up a horn for our salvation
within the house of David his servant,
even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old:
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
to show mercy to our fathers
and to be mindful of his holy covenant
and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father,
and to grant us that,
rescued from the hand of enemies,
without fear we might worship him
in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God
by which the daybreak from on high will visit us
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:72-77).
So, what did this scripture passage help me to learn about my present situation? While we praise God for the things he has done for us, I was reminded that it is not about us. He does these things for us to bring glory to Him and so that we might believe in Him. When my voice is restored I know that my first words will be of praise to God. Not thanking him for the return of my voice, or the opportunity for me to never take my voice for granted again, but for the gentle nudge from God for me to seek Him in The Word and thus, as always, become closer to God and getting to know Him better.
Incoming search terms:
- canticle of zechariah