A woman of longing and years, carrying a promise of God that came unexpectedly by way of expectancy.
Her aged hands rested gently on her swollen belly as her womb vibrated from the movement of the baby boy she carried. A child bursting with joy and full of a Spirit so holy she could not even begin to fathom the marvelous nature of this child.
Elizabeth, a beloved woman well in her years, had just been granted the desire of her heart – one that would usher her into the ministry of motherhood.
After years of waiting, Elizabeth’s soul and womb overflowed with joy. She had truly been blessed with a son whom Jesus would call the greatest of all men (Matthew 11:11).
Faith in the Waiting
Pregnancy is a joyous occasion, a gift of God.
As we celebrate the birth of a child, the new life before us ushers in togetherness, servitude, love, and excitement that surpasses all others. The birth of a child is one of the most anticipated events of one’s life.
However, what do you do when you find yourself like Elizabeth? A desire for motherhood but barren and past the age of childbearing? Will you spend the years in praise and joy serving the Lord, or will you allow the bitterness of being barren to take root in your heart?
Do you have a dream that has yet to come to fruition?
Are you in a season of waiting?
Elizabeth knew this all too well. She was the wife of Zechariah, a priest in the division of Abijah. Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous in the eyes of God and advanced in their age. And it was due to their age that Zechariah questioned the words of Gabriel, and because he doubted God, Zechariah was silenced by a holy messenger.
The Believer’s Bible Commentary states, “Whenever a believer entertains doubts concerning God’s word, he loses his testimony and his song. Unbelief seals the lips, and they remain sealed until faith returns and bursts forth in praise and witness.”
In many ways, this situation, although a joyous event, must have proved difficult for Elizabeth. Luke 1:24 ESV states, “After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden,”
Can you imagine Elizabeth’s joy as she surrendered to God’s plans only to discover her husband had been silenced due to his disbelief?
How would you react? The favor of the Lord is with you, and you now find yourself in an unusual situation because of your husband’s unbelief.
There would be no shouts of celebratory praise and thankfulness between you and your husband. No spoken prayers for the expectant mother and child and no one to share the exciting developments that come with the months of pregnancy. Only silence. Nine months of silence.
But we know Elizabeth placed her trust in God. Not in the world or her own understanding but in God. She was steadfast in the waiting as she faithfully trusted God regardless of her circumstances.
Steadfast in the Waiting
However isolated or bewildered we may feel in the earthly realm, the truth is that God is always with us.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Fear not. I am with you. I am your God.
How comforting are the words of God as He assures us that He is with us in the waiting? He will strengthen us for our journey and provide for us.
We have a Father who knows we will encounter many trials and tribulations in our “Yes” to Him. And just like an earthly parent to a hesitant child, His response is always, “Don’t be afraid; I am here.”
He reminds us of His steadfast goodness. And I am quite certain Elizabeth held on to the words of Isaiah 41:10 as she remained in seclusion for five months.
You see, this is true for each one of us. Regardless of where we are called or where our journey takes us, we, too, can rely on God’s strength, revelation, and truth to sustain us. Our Jehovah Jireh will always go before us, providing for our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Let’s be candid. There are many unknowns when we serve the Lord. But just as with the bold women in the Bible who gallantly embraced the call to follow Jesus, we can also step out in bold faith and embrace the call because He is with us – God is always with us.
Elizabeth knew this, and because of her faithfulness, God showed favor to her.
“’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 1:25 NIV
Joy in the Waiting
Take heart! We have a loving God who loves to bless us with the desires of our hearts, His will be done in His time. In the meantime, we are called to wait expectantly, with joy and praise, delighting ourselves in our Heavenly Father.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 ESV
To where is God calling you this advent season?
Will you trust Him in the unknowns?
Will you surrender your time and expectations to Him?
Be assured, daughter; the Lord will fulfill His good and perfect purpose in you, and by His presence and love, you will be sustained. (Psalm 138:8a)
God loves you.