One of my favorite parts about the story of Elizabeth is the way loving female friendship is featured. Elizabeth and Mary were relatives who were chosen by God for incredible tasks, and they praise God together while they honor and support one another with humility and love.
Here’s the thing I love about the book of Luke. In his own words, Luke says that he has “carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence.” (Luke 1:3). This is a writer who carefully and strategically included each account of Jesus’ life in Scripture, and this relationship between Mary and Elizabeth passed his litmus test. Matthew starts his Gospel focused on Jesus’ family tree and an angel of the Lord explaining what was happening to Joseph (Matthew 1:1–25). Mark begins his Gospel well into the life of John the Baptist and Jesus, as John prepared the way for the Lord (Mark 1:1–8). John has a similar start (John 1:1–18). Only Luke spends time recording the relationship between the two women who were chosen to carry John the Baptist and Jesus.
Elizabeth and Zechariah were an unlikely pair to be chosen as the parents of the man who would prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. They were older and had never been able to have any children. Zechariah was a faithful priest, but not a significant religious leader. But they were “righteous in God’s sight” (Luke 1:6). Even before Jesus came as our Savior, God was already showing us that it’s not who we are, what our titles are, or how important we are that matters; it’s about how our lives reflect Him.
Elizabeth experienced her miracle several months before Mary would become pregnant with Jesus, which gave Elizabeth the unique position to be one of the only women who could possibly understand what was happening. We don’t see a lot of their interaction or their time together, but what we do see is a significant model of friendship that we can put into practice. Mary and Elizabeth were both women who were chosen and favored by God. They were faithful and loved Him, and believed that He could make the impossible possible. When Mary rushed into Elizabeth’s house, Elizabeth—having waited far longer to finally experience this miracle—could have made it all about her. But instead, filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth celebrated Mary and the baby she carried: “Blessed are you among women, and your child will be blessed! How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me. Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!” (Luke 1:42–45)
Instead of making it all about her, which would have been reasonable considering Mary was carrying the Savior of the world, Mary turned the focus back to God in praise. These cousins, at different stages of life, came together with humility and love to support one another through an experience that no one else on earth could relate to, and they kept God at the center.
Who are the women in your life who see the work God is doing in you, proclaim it, and celebrate it? If you are waiting on your impossible, miraculous answer from God, take heart. God’s timing is perfect and His ways are better than our ways. Believe what the Lord has promised—nothing is impossible for Him!
This post includes excerpts from Quieting the Shout of Should. You can find this lovely, helpful, and encouraging book at your local bookstore or favorite online retailer!
Week 2 Challenge:
Who in your life has shown great faith like the women we are reading about? Take time this week and reach out to her. Encourage her with your words, either spoken or written, and share how her faith has helped increase your faith, too.
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