"After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” (Luke 1:24-25).
Today we meet Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah the acquaintance of whom we made a few days ago, and the mother of John the Baptist.
For years, Elizabeth had carried a burden that was an extremely heavy one to bear particularly in biblical times. She was married, she was a faithful servant of the Lord, however she was childless. Since children were seen as being a blessing from the Lord (which they are), to be childless appeared to testify to the contrary – that one was not blessed of the Lord or that one was indeed a sinful person. Of course, in our modern understanding of reproductive complications, we understand that there is not necessarily a correlation between one’s infertility and one’s spiritual life. However, this was the belief held and with it came a tremendous amount of guilt, shame and low self-esteem.
For years, Zechariah and Elizabeth had prayed and petitioned God. If you followed the account of Zechariah, you’ll remember that the Lord did indeed hear the prayers of Elizabeth and Zechariah (which he always does) and answered favourably – Elizabeth was ‘with child’.
What I’d like to pause on today, is not so much the miracle of conception in Elizabeth’s and Zechariah’s old age. Rather I’d like to home in on her response in v25:
25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
Immediately, Elizabeth recognises the hand of God in this situation and ascribes all the praise and thanks to Him – “The Lord has done this”.
After years of ‘trying’, she and her dear husband are now expecting. She sees what has taken place within her body and immediately recognises that this is the work of God! She comes to know the hand of God in her situation.
She has an epiphany moment, so to speak, as she recognises there can be no other explanation for what has happened – but God!
Aren't you glad for those “but God” moments; those “had-to-be-God” moments in your life, Dear Friend. Where there was no human explanation; no possible way that which has happened could have happened by itself. The odds were stacked against you! Others had written you and your situation off! You may have even gotten to the point of writing yourself off! Then, in the midnight hour, when you had just about given up hope for a breakthrough – “BUT GOD!” God came through. God provided the answer you needed. Your testimony is that of Elizabeth’s: ““The Lord has done this for me!”
All people, whether believers or non-believers, enjoy God’s provision on a daily basis - the rain, the sunshine, food and clothing, home and family, daily work, etc…. However, what sets believers apart from non-believers is that you and I recognise God’s hand in the good that we have. We see the blessing; we see the provision and recognise that this can only be the grace and the mercy of God!
Our prayer for you this Advent/Christmas season is that wherever you find yourself in the journey of life and faith, you’ll experience more of those “had-to-be-God” moments; blessed breakthroughs, divine deliverance and provision.
However, Dear Fiend, even if the breakthrough does not happen how and when you’d like it to; even if it seems Heaven is silent, don’t give up, give in or give out. Keep leaning in and while waiting and trusting for the personal miracle, focus on the greatest “had-to-be-God” moment of them all: The God of heaven, taking on human flesh, dwelling amongst us, dying on a cruel cross and rising again, so that we can enjoy eternal life!
Then, flowing from the depths of your heart and soul:
“To God be the Glory! Great things He has done!”
I cannot but give you praise, Dear Lord,
For all that you have done, are doing for me;
Increase my faith to hang on in the storms,
E’en when the light at the tunnel’s end, I cannot see.