Oh, she wanted a baby. You know, more than anything in life, she wanted a child of her own to love and hold. A child to kiss, cuddle and invest her life into.
No matter how hard she prayed though, her prayers went unanswered.
Why did God deny her prayers? Why was her body broken? Her womb closed?
The stigma and shame that followed her was almost too much to bare at times. Children were considered a blessing and for a woman not to have children, well… she felt the shame with each new birth in her small community.
She was a faithful woman, loved the Lord… yet she suffered for years.
But see this: God did not bring disgrace or shame upon her, her own people did. Her community did. The culture in which she lived viewed a childless woman with shame. Not God.
Yet, despite her heartbreak, her brokenness over prayers that went unanswered, Elizabeth’s faith in God was strong.
What touches me the most about this amazing woman is her response when she finds out she is pregnant. “The Lord has done this for me.” Do you hear how tender that is? She was close to God. She had a loving, personal relationship with Him. She had waited a long time, years to be exact, and God came through.
She had prayed and waited, God had heard and worked.
In the years of waiting, tears and prayers…God was always working and molding her into His image.
Maybe that’s why Mary went to her… Elizabeth understood how it felt when people talked even when you are innocent. She was compassionate and loving, grace filled and not judgmental. Because she went before Mary and had felt the sting of shame from those who did not understand, she could comfort Mary as the rumors began circulating. Elizabeth, in some ways, was like her son John the Baptist… she helped prepare the way.
“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:36-37
Did you see that? The Angel Gabriel used Elizabeth as an example of what God can do! The phrase “Nothing is impossible with God” was spoken inference to what God had done in Elizabeth’s life!
Our lives are for His glory.
Some of us will be called to unjustly bare shame, but take heart… God is working in the midst of the injustice.
Our lives, our stories, are all for His glory!
And what a story God wrote through Elizabeth’s life. Just think of what Elizabeth would have missed out on if God had answered her prayers immediately? No, the waiting was an important part of the story because He had something better in store…
Maybe it’s a health or physical issue that brings you shame. Maybe you’re like Elizabeth, praying years for the blessing of a child only to be stuck in the waiting.
For me, it is my learning disability. I understand the feeling of being broken, damaged, labeled…unusable for God. But though the world may label us, God can use it for good if we let Him. With those labels: barren, damaged, unwed… we have the opportunity to show God’s glory in our lives. The amazing work of His hands.
Whether the shame you feel is due to your own choices or a result of circumstances out of your control, God can use the heartache, brokenness and pain for a greater good. (Romans 8:28) I saw that this week in the beautiful stories you all shared on Monday and Wednesday. God is writing some amazingly, beautiful stories of His love and redemption through YOU. Stories that help us to see God working in the midst of our messy, broken lives… we are reminded that He is with us.
So let’s be like Elizabeth.
Let’s take the hurt, shame, struggles and allow them to form us into women who are loving and compassionate. Let’s allow God to turn the heartbreak into tears of joy! (Psalm 126:5)
Let’s glorify him with the lives we’ve been blessed with and maybe, just maybe, when people look at our lives they will see the amazing work God has done and say, “Nothing is impossible with God.”
Let’s Talk: Have you ever had an “Elizabeth” in your life? How did God use her to encourage you in your time of need?
Love God Greatly!