Today we’re hearing from Lindsey Strickler, our Communications Director.
READ: Luke 1:5-25, 39-45, 57-80“And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.” – Luke 1:58What is something you want more than anything else in the world? What is that thing that no matter how hard you try, you don’t feel like you’ve made any progress and that thing feels unattainable. Maybe it’s to hit a PR, maybe it’s to lose weight, maybe it’s to find a husband or a wife, or maybe it’s having kids. Elizabeth was right there with you. She and her husband had tried for years to have kids, and failed. They were both well respected in their community, her husband worked for our modern day equivalent of their church, they did everything right. When we meet them, we’re told they are “advanced in years” and that it’s because of Elizabeth’s barrenness that they can’t conceive. At this point, we can assume that they are past Hope because of their age.Can you imagine being Elizabeth? Knowing that it’s because of your body that you and your husband couldn’t have the one thing you both want the most. I can’t imagine the guilt, shame, resentment, and jealousy she struggled with. Yet both she and her husband continued to serve God and live their lives fully for him. It’s in this moment that God meets them where they’re at and works miracles. He sends an Angel to Elizabeth’s husband Zechariah, and tells him that he and Elizabeth will have a son. This son would be someone that brings their community great joy, and would be filled with the Holy Spirit while he’s still in Elizabeth’s womb. Jaw. Drop. Zachariah would doubt the news, but Elizabeth’s first reaction is pure joy. They would have a son, John, who would later baptize Jesus and go before Jesus telling everyone that their Savior is coming. I was hanging out recently with some of my best friends who I watched go three years of painful infertility before they finally had their first son. That night we talked about how hard it was when they would hear people talk about “how easy” it was for them to get pregnant, or how hard it was to see all the baby photos on Facebook and wonder why God wouldn’t bless them with one little person of their own. They loved God, they served him with their whole hearts, but God kept saying, “Not yet.” I’m in awe of Elizabeth’s reaction when Mary comes to visit her. Here comes Mary, young and in her prime, hasn’t lived much life yet, is in good enough shape that we’re told she was “rushing to visit,” and she didn’t even have to try to get pregnant. She literally didn’t have to be with a man, God just said, “I’ve chosen you to carry the Savior,” and boom she was pregnant. Instead of jealousy or resentment over the dramatic difference in their pregnancies, Elizabeth sings Mary’s praises and builds up this young woman. It’s important to recognize that the joy that Elizabeth feels and shows is not an overnight joy. It’s joy that comes from her character, and a has been built through living life and personal experience. There’s a reason Mary chose to come visit her and spend time with her. Right now, my deepest desire is to get married and have a family, but God has continued to say, “Wait.” It’s hard to not be jealous when around this time of year there are new engagements announced, and endless baby photos on Santa’s lap, and all the matching family jammies. I struggle with the same feelings of, “God, I love you, I think I’m doing everything you ask. Why are you still saying, ‘No,’ or, ‘Wait’?”My friends and I, we’re human. In the waiting, God did amazing things with my friends and he used their faithfulness in beautiful ways to help a young church and to start a non profit that impacts hundreds of Colorado teens every year. And I know there’s a reason why they needed to wait to have their two sons until they did. There’s a purpose and a reason for those two little men and how God is going to use them. In my waiting, I’m trusting God that there’s something else he wants to do with me. I do not know why God has continued to say, “Not yet.” But I have a choice, I can live fully and embrace where he has me and experience his joy, or I can live in resentment and be miserable. Personally, I’d rather be like Elizabeth and be known for my joy and use the season where he has me.More Devotions from our Christmas series, The Men and Women at the First Christmas:
Day 1- The Prophets: The Conviction, Cost, and Triumph of Truth
Day 2- The Jewish Nation: The Gift of Waiting
Day 3- Mary: Perfect Isn’t Required
Day 4- Joseph: The Forgotten Father