Week of Silence Day 7: My First Words….

So my week of silence has come to an end.

For Zechariah, 9 months of silence ends with the cries of His newborn baby boy.

He began this silence with the words, “how can I be sure of this?” A kind of “what-you-talkin-bout-Willis” response to the Angel of God.

But he ends his silence, filled with the joy of a Father, who through no goodness of his own, received a gift, and this gift would prepare the way for Jesus, and the world would never be the same….I will never be the same.

So I figured you might as well hear my first words, as the first words of Zechariah:


Merry Christmas.

Week of Silence Day 5: Silent Dads

So Zechariah walks out of the temple, down the steps, to greet a few anxious people now waiting for him, wondering what has taken so long.

He has encountered the messenger of God, sent to tell Him that the shame He and Elizabeth once endured, is now over. God was beginning a new work, and  their Son would prepare the way. His response to that announcement is the reason he will be silent for the next nine months.  www-St-Takla-org--Domenico-Ghirlandaio-Annuncio-dell-Angelo-a-Aaccaria-02-details

Unlike my situation, Zechariah does not have a choice, he will be silent for 9 months.  Every day, His silence, though awkward, disruptive, and frustrating, will also serve as a daily reminder that God is in control, that God will keep his promise, and that our best response can only be, “Let it be to me, according to your word. “

Strange how the hardship of being unable to speak is at the same time a reminder of God’s power and faithfulness.  That somehow the consequence for unbelief will daily point Zechariah to the arrival of their first Child, and to the God who has mercy and hears the prayers of the hopeless.  Could it be that consequences, or hardships, or unwelcome life experiences, can be both corrective and redemptive — and that both can actually point to the Love of God?

I wonder how those months of silence, shaped the way Zechariah raised John the Baptist.

I wonder if the humility that comes with silent living, can be found in His Son, John, when he said, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie (Luke 3).

I wonder how the daily reminder that Zechariah, was not in control, was passed on to His Son, who would later say, “He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30)

I wonder if somewhere in the quiet that we work so hard to fill up with noise, God is preparing you and I in such a way that our lives point to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)

Week of Silence Day 3: I’m Not Crazy!

The Last 24 Hours

While people who know me are still having a good time with my new “condition”,  for me the novelty is wearing off. My children are starting to ask how much longer before I can talk again. My wife patiently walks through my fumbling hand motions and frustrated explanations. Today, without even thinking, I went through a drive thru, and when the voice came on asking for my order, I sat there….and then quickly drove away.

I’m finding I tend to avoid situations that require too much interaction….it’s just easier to be alone than to try to explain that you’re not talking on purpose because of some guy in the bible.  I was at a supermarket today when I tried to hand a lady one of the cards I made up explaining why I wasn’t answering her, and she waved me off like I was trying to sell her something. At least look at the card! I wanted to scream, I’m not nearly as weird as I look right now!

What I’m Learning

I’m 3 days in…..Zechariah….9 months. Where was God going with this silence? Didn’t God see that not being able to talk didn’t just affect Zechariah, but everyone that Zechariah was connected to?

Silence doesn’t work….not today.www-St-Takla-org--Domenico-Ghirlandaio-Annuncio-dell-Angelo-a-Aaccaria-02-details

With the rise of 24 hour news, and the hundreds of millions of people offering rambling opinions on multiple social media channels every day, silence is no longer golden, it has become a sign of weakness. It is no longer, “better to be silent and thought a fool….” Now you are a fool to leave any thoughts left unsaid – because surely somebody cares and wants to hear them.

There are so many examples in my life of times when I needed to say something, to speak up and be heard. But there are just as many times in my life when the wisest, most loving, most honorable decision I could have made was to leave it unsaid, to stay quiet, and refuse to use my words to manipulate people, make much of myself, and little of the Jesus I follow.

Week of Silence Day 2: I Don’t Want to Talk….

The Last 24 Hours

Last night it was our three children and I, for the entire night. Actually, it went pretty well. I find that our oldest, Evan, is not only very good at charades, but also enjoys relaying my instructions to His sisters, and making sure they carry out my bidding….we’re working on that.


My Wife and I tried to make the most of conversation when she got home. I found myself speaking more frequently than I did throughout the day, but she throws in so many questions in the course of a conversation that it would catch me off guard.

I wonder how many questions Zechariah’s elderly wife, now a mom-to-be, asked her aging husband? I wonder if Zechariah, found himself (as I do now) making bigger and bigger facial expressions, as if that would help His Wife understand the words He was trying to say? I imagine, after several months had gone by, Zechariah would simply sit next to Elizabeth, rest His hand on her stomach, and hold her close….sometimes, that’s the only communication you need. But with the guys in my office, trust me, that did not work the same way….

Today I did pretty well, navigating a conversation with my mechanic, and several voicemail messages without speaking.  Usually, it’s when I don’t see an encounter coming, that I talk more; a random question, bumping in to someone at the gas station. It’s like if I don’t see it coming, I forget I’m not suppose to speak – it’s definitely not a habit yet.

What I’m Learning

I miss speaking, communicating with words and interacting in a conversation. Sometimes the barrier can be frustrating.  While silence is so important in a culture gone loud, it has also forced me to look at the words I choose to speak. I’ve been around several conversations, in which what I wanted to say, but couldn’t, wasn’t really worth saying.  So many times what I would have injected into a conversation would only serve to make certain that I had the last laugh; or steer the conversation toward me, in a way that makes me look better than I really am. In some conversations, I don’t want to talk, I just want to have control. But in silence, you are no longer in control; no steering, directing, distracting or covering up.

Maybe this is why, when we read about how we are to approach God, the recommendation in the Bible is often silence. It’s a reminder that we do not steer or direct or have control. Maybe this is what silence taught, Zechariah….I know it is what silence is teaching me.

For God alone, Oh my soul, wait in silence. For my hope is in Him. Psalm 62:5