After praying and pining for a child of her own, Elizabeth had long settled it in her heart, now that her childbearing years were far behind her, that she would never experience being a mother.
But, that didn’t stop others from speculation and gossip as to the why’s and wherefores. In that day childlessness was often attributed to sin of some sort on the part of the woman.
The pain-filled stares and the whispers were not lost on Elizabeth all those years.
Then...the unthinkable happened.
One afternoon while her husband was tending the altar of incense in the temple in Jerusalem, an angel appeared to him. He was told that God had chosen Elizabeth to carry a son. But, this was not to be just any son. Oh no! Their little guy would be commissioned to call God’s people back to Him. He would be the one preparing the way for the Messiah.
Zechariah couldn’t believe what he was hearing or seeing, and his lack of faith in the face of such an amazing angelic appearance literally left him in dumbfounded silence. A mute! Can you imagine him going home that night and having to play a game of charades to try to explain all this to Elizabeth?
I can only imagine the shock, the laughter, the tears, the relief, and the awe Elizabeth must have experienced when she realized that she was actually pregnant.
I would have wanted to flaunt my burgeoning figure throughout town just to show those gossip-mongers a thing or two. But, Elizabeth decided to spend the last five months of her pregnancy in seclusion.
Yes! That’s right! In seclusion!
Imagine that with me for a moment!
A woman, as we all know, has at least 10,000 words she absolutely needs to say every day or she’ll lose her marbles. And to make matters worse, her hubby was mute, so he couldn’t even carry on a conversation.
Then there was this amazing miracle growing inside of her that she was probably dying to share with someone, anyone…but, there she was hidden in isolation!
She must have been bursting at the seams to share the news.
Then an occasion finally presented itself, when her cousin, Mary, arrived for a visit.
But, what does the Bible tell us about that initial conversation? Well, let’s read it and see.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the unborn baby inside her jumped, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 With a great cry she said to Mary, “God has blessed you more than any other woman. And God has blessed the baby you will have. 43 You are the mother of my Lord, and you have come to me! Why has something so good happened to me? 44 When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped with joy. 45 Great blessings are yours because you believed what the Lord said to you! You believed this would happen.”
Elizabeth looked into the eyes of her young cousin and let go of any desire she may have had to share her news, and instead rejoiced with Mary in hers! Instead of feeling usurped by Mary’s news of being pregnant with the Messiah, she gave a great cry and became Mary’s biggest cheerleader!
Because in the end what really made Elizabeth and her baby leap for joy…was what God was doing in and through Mary!
Now, in and of herself, Elizabeth could have very well struggled to swallow back the things that were on her heart that she had hoped to share. Had she had even a hint of jealousy or any skepticism at Mary’s news, she would have completely derailed this opportunity that God was giving to her to be a source of encouragement to the one He had chosen to bear His Son. But, Elizabeth allowed the Holy Spirit full control of her life, and because of that, He gave her the grace to not only rejoice with Mary, but, to be the wind beneath her wings.
Oh, how I love this woman!
Dear God, help me to be like Elizabeth! Help me to be Your vessel of encouragement, cheer, and empowerment; filled with Your Spirit instead of preoccupied with my life and self. May my heart leap for joy when I hear all that You are doing in and through others. I want to be Your cheerleader in this world.
Rejoice with those who are rejoicing...
When others are happy, you should be happy with them.