“Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.” Luke 23-25
I can’t help but feel for Elizabeth. A good and faithful woman who has spent her life hoping and praying for a child which would validate her status in her community and spare Zechariah shame as well. They were both judged to some extent by a situation that was out of their control.
But they remained faithful.
Prior to this passage it tells of her husband Zechariah losing his speech because he questions the angel about the possibility of Elizabeth bearing a child at her age. So, Zechariah is turned mute because of a very valid question, “how can this be?”
Can you imagine, for all of the questioning we do about everything if this was always the response? I am struck by it’s severity. So here is Elizabeth, more than likely uneducated except in her faith, her husband, unable to tell her of the angel, she not entirely sure if she pregnant (we are told she is older and that could be the beginning of menopause) and no one to talk to who can understand what she is going through?
It must be very difficult for her, so she goes into seclusion for five months. I can only think that this is where real faith comes in. An ability to see the fulfillment of God’s promise in your life even though you may be filled with fear and confusion. Imagine what she must have thought when Mary goes to her and says, “I know, something is happening to me too!” The feeling may have been relief and a renewed sense of purpose.
These two chosen women, who simply go about their business faithfully, end up changing the course of history. God gives us people in our lives that can completely understand where we stand in these moments. Like Mary, we are sent people to ride out the times when we are “in it alone.” I know who my people have been and I am sure you do too.
So, here is Elizabeth, a woman who is bearing a most powerful prophet, this woman once made to feel lesser is now held in highest regard in our Christian history because she kept her faith and allowed the love of God to fulfill its/her promise. This speaks to me strongly at this moment in time. I am very worried for those who are easily forgotten, for those who feel invisible. But no one is invisible to God…each of us are are equally important and loved.
What I can learn from Elizabeth is that even when things don’t seem to working for the glory of God, even when nothing comes of my best foot forward, even when signs point in the opposite direction, if I keep my heart open to the possibly of something completely unimaginable, I too can be that wonderful example of faith that Elizabeth is to us now.
This season is all about believing, believing in God’s promise and in his infinite love for us. It may be hard to see it right now, but it is there…as it has always been.