I’ve inherited a lot from my Daddy. His brown eyes…his creativity… his sense of humor but recently I realized I inherited another strange habit. He was at my house repair something, as he often has to do, when I heard him making plans for how he was going to re-plumb the sink. “I’m going to put this here and we can grab one of those and then will move that piece over there.” I immediately laughed because I do the exact same thing when I’m making plans. (If you ever see me wandering around Hobby Lobby having a full conversation with myself, hand movements and all, mind your own business.) In fact, in all our plays, projects and parties, Meg has learned when to pay attention to what I’m saying and when I’m just consulting myself. My father and I share our creative process which is why I can “see” his plan as he describes it and when he draws it out. To me, that’s just part of getting the work done. You can visibly see us going through the steps. You know we are busy working.
However, sometimes, I act like God isn’t working because I CAN’T hear Him planning or see Him drawing out His ideas. I tend to think silence means God isn’t fulfilling His promises or that He’s taken the day off but that just not true. I think the greatest example of this comes in the “silence” of the four hundred years between the Old and New Testament. Imagine praying and waiting for the prophesied Messiah and you’ve had all of these prophets bring the word of the Lord to your people and then SILENCE for FOUR CENTURIES. If I’m honest, I probably would have begun to doubt the truth of the stories and lesson I had been taught.
This really is a great example of the, “It’s darkest before the dawn…” concept. Those last few years had to feel so dark and hopeless for God’s people yet, God was very much at work. Imagine a wrinkled old grandmother going down on bended knee as she had for decades. Imagine her earnestly praying for the coming Messiah with faith that in the midst of feeling forgotten by God she wasn’t.
We have the luxury of hindsight. We can easily flip from Malachi 4:6 to Matthew 1:1 without a second thought BUT for those who waited in the silence it must have seemed like God hadn’t heard them or had given up on them after so many failures and I think most of us can relate to those feelings. Even the faithful have moments of confusion but I think Matthew 1:17 should be a great reminder that the Lord is working in spite of not being able to see the progress. (“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.”) That’s a long wait and just like many of the faithful Israelites we may not always get to see the outcome of our prayers this side of Heaven but it doesn’t mean God isn’t working. Matthew 1 provides a road map of faithfulness from God’s promise to Abraham to the fulfillment of that promise and so many more. So why do we act like He will be any less faithful to us?