Elizabeth was a woman of God whose appearance in the Bible is small in word count, yet imperative to God’s plan. Only mentioned in Luke’s gospel, her story is laid out in a single chapter.
Who is Elizabeth?
God said she was a godly woman, righteous before Him, walking in all His commandments and ordinances; blameless.
Yet the fact remained, she was barren and childless, well beyond child-bearing years. (Luke 1:7) It is unlikely she and Zacharias* held out hope of conceiving a child; still, an angel of the Lord visited Zacharias to tell him that was exactly what would happen. (Luke 1:11-14)
Naturally, Zacharias and Elizabeth had quite different reactions to the angel’s news, though Elizabeth never heard the news directly.
Zacharias doubted the angelic prophecy, questioning Elizabeth’s ability to conceive at such an age. While a logical conclusion by human standards, he wasn’t dealing with human power but rather that of the Creator of the universe. This doubt resulted in a divinely enforced bout of silence until the birth of his child. (Luke 1:18-23, 63-64)
Elizabeth, on the other hand, hid herself within her home for the first five months of her pregnancy in order to praise God. (Luke 1:24-25) In the context of Elizabeth’s society, bearing children was viewed not only as the primary role of women, but also as a direct result of favor from the Lord. For decades she suffered the contempt of her community. They could say she was godly, but something was surely wrong with her, otherwise, God would have blessed her with children, right?
Her barrenness likely left her feeling lonely, angry, perhaps depressed, and at times, maybe even far from God. We can imagine she had midwife experience, as did many women in her culture, which could have inflicted further agony upon her heart and soul. She would have watched countless women, both strangers and loved ones, bear life in a way she seemingly never would. She might have experienced glimpses of motherly affection toward the little ones she potentially delivered, but they were never hers to hold onto.
In this way, Elizabeth learned a difficult lesson with which many mothers struggle. Even if we are blessed to carry life into this world, our children’s lives are not ours. Every life belongs to God. This lesson was underlined in the prophecy delivered to Zacharias:
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and will never drink wine or beer. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)
Still, throughout the decades of infertility, Elizabeth lived with faith by grace so well God called her blameless. She had come to trust the heart of the God who allowed her barrenness, for otherwise her worship would have been a fraud. She faithfully served a loving Lord and while she may not have been able to understand the reason for her pain, He still loved her and remained a God worth serving. (Daniel 3:14-18)
Sometimes, we mistakenly assume judgment when God is actually extending an opportunity to trust Him (Psalm 56:3-5), re-center our hearts and minds on Him (Romans 8:6), and grow our faith. (Romans 10:17, Romans 5:3-5)
We are forgetful creatures,
so He must frequently remind us
over a lengthy journey,
we are each entirely dependent upon Him.
Furthermore, God knows all the moving parts while comparatively, we comprehend only a sliver of His plan. We must not lose heart; God’s timing is perfectly orchestrated.
Elizabeth was chosen to carry a very specific life at a very specific time.
One son whose job was to prepare the way for Christ.
His perfectly timed life depended heavily on the timing of another life, an aged mother who had humbled herself over a lifetime of surrender and learned to worship while she waited. This was her chorus of adoration.
Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist.
In her waiting and through her tribulations, God developed her to become the woman who would bear the child who would declare the arrival of the long-awaited Savior.
Imagine the strength required of a woman, both spiritually and emotionally, to raise a son dedicated to living a surrendered life to God. He would deny the luxuries of this world while preaching to, and baptizing, both the welcoming and unwelcoming crowds relentlessly, all while singing the praise chorus he’d learned from his mother, humility.
A humbled mother would be perfectly suited to prepare such a humbled leader.
Perfectly suited to sing the praises of Another. (Luke 3:16)
This is the beauty of God’s timing.
This is the beauty of God’s nos and not yets.
This is the beauty of submitting to a God who IS
Sovereignly in control.
Sisters, when hardship strikes in your life, remember God is still a God of love.
He is worthy of praise and submission, despite tragedy or challenge.
Here is not Home.
For all who have trusted Christ for our rescue from the deadly consequences of sin, we are only passing through. He will see us through every tear, every laugh, and every gray hair until He is ready to call us Home. (Isaiah 46:4)
*Zacharias or Zechariah may appear in your Bible text; both translations of the Hebrew name point to the same man.
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