So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.
Luke 1:62-64 New Living Translation
On the night of June 8, 2008, nearly 12 inches of rain fell in the Wisconsin Dells area. The flooding caused by the rainfall put extra pressure on the 81-year-old earthen dike that had been constructed to hold back the flow of Dell Creek into the Wisconsin River to form Lake Delton, a popular resort area. Eventually, the erosion became so bad that a 400-foot section of the dike gave way and water that been held back for nearly a century came rushing through the new pathway into the Wisconsin River that ran along the opposite side of the county highway build on top of the dike. In a matter of hours the 600 million+ gallons of water that made up the lake completely drained into the river, leaving behind several damaged homes, hundreds of stranded boats and thousands of dead fish. It took nearly a year to repair the dam and refill the lake.
Though a much happier moment, when I think about this point in Zechariah’s story, I envision the video footage I have seen of the water rushing through the dike breach at Lake Delton in 2008. Zachariah’s words and wonderment at what God was doing through him and Elizabeth had been held back for just over nine months. Because of his initial doubt, the angel had taken away Zachariah’s ability to speak until their promised baby was born. The excitement of being a father and seeing his son for the first time welled up within him for that whole time without any way to express it verbally. He also knew that God had a special purpose for his son but couldn’t express his awe of that purpose the way he normally would have. His words were backed up. At that moment when he wrote down the name the angel had given him to name his son, the blockage in his speech broke loose and words of praise came rushing out of his mouth. We can only imagine what that moment was like but it must have been glorious. All the thoughts of worship that had built up within Zachariah over the 9-month period of Elizebeth’s pregnancy were now able to be expressed and Zachariah did not hold back.
There are times in our lives where we may feel like our thoughts of praise are held back and we cannot find a way to adequately express them with our voice. We may feel the emotion building up within us like water being held back by a dam. Then God will move in a way that He promised and we are able to let those words of praise flow out from deep inside our spirit. Those can be some of the most joyful times of worship.
Father, we thank you that even when we are able to find the words to praise you, you are doing great work that still builds up within us emotionally. Help us to find the words to worship you when we feel that those emotions are no longer backed up and we can praise you freely.