The Elizabeth of Luke Chapter One.
What we know:
- She was older and without children. To have been barren (childless) in Elizabeth's time was a mark of shame. Many in this culture viewed infertility as an indication of or punishment for sin.
- Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah were both Godly people.
- When Elizabeth became pregnant she immediately gave God glory and honor. But she mostly kept the blessing to herself. She stayed at home for many months. Set apart time for her, her husband and God.
- One of Elizabeth's first guests was Mary. Mary - a young, unmarried, family member in the middle of a situation that she hadn't planned for. She was pregnant and her soon to be husband wasn't around.
- She offered Mary love.
- She was obedient and bold, even when it meant breaking with tradition to honor God specific instructions.
See the picture in your mind. Elizabeth is old and pregnant. Her husband has been stuck mute by the hand of God. You know people are talking. Smiling, but talking. Elizabeth stays home. I get that. When the world is spinning - even when it's spinning by God's plan - home is sometimes the safest and most comfortable place to be. Knock, Knock, Knock... her come's Mary - an unmarried, teenage, pregnant member of the extended family. Elizabeth was the logical choice for Mary in her time of crisis. Elizabeth had surely faced the unspoken judgement of those around her. To be childless was to experience shame. Yet God blessed Elizabeth with His divine action. Only the hand of God could have caused this series of events to unfold. Elizabeth praised and honorer God without pause or hesitation. Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit and passionately loved God. So it makes sense that God used her as an instrument of validation in Mary's life. She offered Mary love and encouragement and not judgement. Joseph isn't around for this part of the story. Perhaps this is the time frame where God and his angel are working on the heart of this man. The Bible's not real clear about that. But we do know that Joseph there, and we do know he didn't come to get her. Mary and Elizabeth spent considerable time together - some things take time to process - and when Mary returned home she was more empowered to face whatever came next.
God used Elizabeth. God would use personal and and probably painful experiences of her past for ministry. God was using Elizabeth during one of life's unexpected moments too. It probably wasn't the best timing for Elizabeth. It probably made her life a bit more complicated. It took extra effort. I'm sure the people around these two women probably had something to say about it. But Elizabeth was sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit and obedient. God's voice was the one she listened for and to. Elizabeth let God use her whole story for His glory.
Yeah - I can learn something from that.