Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.
And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. But his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God. Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
// Luke 1:57-66
God’s timing is perfect. Here in this passage we see the promised arrival of baby John. His parents, we have learned, were very pious, devout people, but they still had to learn to wait upon God and trust His timing for the arrival of their baby. As we wait for the promises of God, He does a lot more in our lives than we realize. Zach and Elizabeth’s waiting period was difficult, but we see that not only were their lives transformed in the waiting process and at the delivery of this baby, but God’s character and mercy were also displayed. It was because of this waiting time that God’s glory was seen in such a powerful way, not just by this couple but also by their neighbors.
Their friends and family were also amazed by Zach’s agreement with the unexpected change of the baby’s name to John. Not only was it unexpected because of family tradition, but also because Zach was thought to be deaf as well as mute. We see that the people were using sign language to communicate with him and he used the first-known iPad to write, “His name is John,” so it was truly astonishing that he chose the same name as Elizabeth. But everyone was even more amazed when God then loosened Zach’s tongue, and he began to speak and praise God! It was clear now that this was no ordinary moment and no ordinary child, but God was up to something. Obedience is the quickest way to hear from God again and to find our voice.
If everything happened on our timing and schedule, we would not become the people God has destined us to be. The name Zacharias means "the Lord has remembered." This is God showing us that He never forgets his promises. We may feel, in the waiting period, that God has left us on our own or forgotten about us, but He never forgets. John is a very prophetic name, which means "the Lord has been gracious." John’s birth and his name are prophesying the coming of God’s grace for all of humanity. It’s a picture that God has not forgotten us in our brokenness, that He will not leave us in our pain and separation but by His grace He will bring us new life. Grace was on its way to these people and to the entire human race.
Are there things in our lives for which we’ve been waiting and feel like God has forgotten His promise to us? We have the opportunity to take a step back and ask the Lord this Advent to reveal what He is doing in our hearts and lives while we wait. In the waiting time it’s easy to feel silenced or forgotten, but God has not forgotten you. When the perfect time comes the promise will come. It’s in the waiting time we learn that what we really need is not just a promise fulfilled – we need the Promise Keeper.