Day 18

Silence and Rejoicing

from the Advent 2019: A Thrill of Hope reading plan

Luke 1:18-25, Psalm 113:1-9, Luke 7:18-28

BY Guest Writer

I remember a time when holding out hope felt like more than I could bear. During my first pregnancy, I loved my prenatal appointments because listening to my daughter’s heartbeat was the best sound I could ever imagine. So when I went in for my first visit with a new pregnancy, my heart was filled with anticipation. Would I hear that delicate rhythm of a tiny heartbeat again? After a long pause, my doctor gently told me there was no heartbeat. The silence was overwhelming.

The next time I went into that same office, I was pregnant for the third time, but my heart was so fragile, holding out hope felt like more than I could bear. The risk of believing that something good could happen that day felt so dangerous.

To Zechariah, the angel’s message was too good to be true. The hope of joy was too painful to let in. What Zechariah knew of God’s character, even as a priest, was not enough to convince him. Are we not tempted, like Zechariah, to reason whether God’s promises line up more with His character or our circumstances?

If God’s promise depends on His faithfulness alone, then Zechariah and Elizabeth are ushered into a dangerous hope and joy beyond their imagination. What is the difference between believing that God’s promise depends on us or on Him? The temptation of crippling fear or the thrill of hope, in the face of uncertainty.

Through the angel’s pronouncement of Zechariah’s muteness, God showed His mighty power at work in both him and Elizabeth. God offered him this gift of awe to ponder within. Our doubt cannot stop God from being good to us and will not thwart His perfect plans (Deuteronomy 32:4). That is the kind of God He is.

Even John the Baptist wondered if Jesus was “the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Luke 7:19). Jesus honored his question, reminding him to look at the fulfilled prophecies which pointed him to God’s character, rather than focusing on his circumstances, to determine the truth.

By contrast, Elizabeth received God’s gift with overflowing gratitude, declaring, “The Lord has done this for me” (Luke 1:25). She let the mystery of God’s message draw her deeper into trusting His character. “He gives the childless woman a household, making her the joyful mother of children” (Psalm 113:9). That is the kind of God He is.

This season, there may be days when we are like Elizabeth in our awareness of God’s favor. Other times we may doubt as Zechariah did, too overwhelmed by our circumstances to believe God’s promises. Nonetheless, our gracious God ultimately delivered joy to them both, and offers the same gift to us now: Jesus Christ, our Savior. In our silence and waiting, God is birthing eternal joy in us. That is the kind of God He is.

Brooke Kocher is a wife and mother of three. She is a Southern girl at heart and a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest.

Post Comments (86)

86 thoughts on "Silence and Rejoicing"

  1. Billie Jo Courtright says:

    I have been so discouraged this Christmas season, and once again behind on my advent devotions. I was finally able to sit down and get caught up this morning, and now I know why I was so behind. God knew I needed this devotion today! We lost our second baby at 20 weeks pregnant in March of this year. I’m currently 16 weeks pregnant with our third little one and my appointment is tomorrow. The fear of hope is so very real this time around, I’m so worried about what the doctor will tell me tomorrow. But in the midst of that fear I feel able to trust his goodness, no matter the outcome! “In our silence and waiting, God is birthing eternal joy in us!” Thankful for Gods love and constant care no matter the circumstances!

  2. Tracie Nall says:

    As I read the account of John’s long anticipated arrival, I was struck by the “waiting” that accompanied the angels announcement. When Zechariah receives the message while serving in the temple as is struck mute, he must WAIT to share the message from his angelic messenger, he physically can’t spread the good news he has received but must work through his own acceptance first! He can’t run and shout it he has to savor it! And then Elizabeth once she has conceived cloisters herself for 5 months, not skipping from neighbor to neighbor showing her belly bump, but savoring in solitude Gods faithfulness! While we need to be instruments id Gods loving message, we also need to be sure we have fully absorbed and accepted His truth before we can share with confidence! In order to help others believe we must first be fully convinced of what we share! Take the time to savor Gods fulfilled promised and unmerited favor!

  3. Jenade says:

    Amen. I am in a similar position as I silently wait. Turning 40 in April and not married. I also have great HOPE in God that despite how things turn out, he has and continues to supply my every need that no other pereon can.

  4. Ms Amy* says:

    This post is exactly what my soul needs. I have been looking for job since finishing a postgraduate degree in 2017 and it’s been tough. I applied for a really promising job where I met all the requirements and experience. I even fasted and prayed about it. Two days ago, I got an email that my application was unsuccessful. I cried and cried and cried. My heart still hurts because I really wanted that job. Out of 10 jobs I applied to this year, 9 have been unsuccessful. One is pending and I won’t know the outcome till Feb 2020. So, I‘my left wondering if I should be hopeful? If God still remembers me? My soul is weary and I’m tired of being unemployed + broke.

    But today’s devotional reminds me HE IS FAITHFUL and my purpose isn’t tied to my circumstances, neither will my doubts thwart the plans He has for me. So, I’m holding on to hope again that that’s 1 pending job application comes out successful. Please put me (and that one pending job application) in prayers, sisters.

    And thank you SRT for this Advent devotional. It is so enriching and needed.

  5. Cari Peterson says:

    My heart is also silently waiting. I will be 40 in April and I am still waiting on God for a husband. I have held on for so many years. I recently got out of a long relationship that was hopeful but I needed to end it. I know He is safe with me and guiding me and helping me walk through this. I have hope in Him even if I don’t ever get married. He’s given me more love than a man ever can.

  6. Amy Eichelberger says:

    God delivered joy to them both. The one who doubted, and the one who rejoiced and believed. I often see both of these traits in myself. What a comfort to know others feel the same sometimes, and an even better comfort to know that God still loves us and is in control.

  7. Brooke Kocher says:

    Hi Callie,
    Thanks for your comments. I moved from Nashville over the summer and now live in Seattle.
    Feel free to email me if you are in the area! I’d love to hear about your story.
    [email protected]. Thanks, Brooke

  8. Callie Cabell says:

    ❤️ love this. Am so enjoying these advent readings. Just read Brooke’s little bio. I am also a Southern girl living in the PNW…would like to know more about Brooke If I could!

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