Lord, You are faithful, just, and perfect in all Your ways. In quietness and trust, I wait upon You.
Focus of the Month: Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Hope
Have you ever felt like you are doing everything “right,” but your prayer goes unanswered? …as if your deepest, most heartfelt, passionate cries are falling on deaf ears? Instead of desiring to press on regardless of the unfulfilled request, we often want to throw in the towel, walk away, and even rebel. But what if we remain steadfast in hope, faith, obedience, trust, and worship…?
There is such a woman in scripture. In Luke 1, we learn about Elizabeth: the wife of Zechariah, the priest; the cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus; and the mother of John the Baptist. Elizabeth is said to have been righteous, blameless, and obedient in all the commandments of God. However, she was barren and advanced in age.
We aren’t privy to the prayers of Elizabeth. Nor do we know the meditations of her heart. However, the account of Elizabeth’s steadfastness in her obedience to God reveals her focus, her passion, and her commitment to trust God in all things. As the chapter goes on, we learn an angel visited Zechariah and told him that his wife would become pregnant. And sure enough, she did:
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
Elizabeth “kept herself hidden.” In humility, honor, reverence – while receiving the fulfillment of the promise, Elizabeth continued to obey and worship the Lord.
Are we as committed to God while we wait for the fulfillment of a blessing, a long-awaited miracle, the answer to our greatest desires? Do we keep ourselves hidden under the shadow of His wings as our promise is being prepared for birth?
A little further in the account, Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. Upon her arrival, she greets her cousin:
41 When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Elizabeth, upon hearing Mary’s greeting, was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke out to bless and encourage Mary in her own calling. Are we as willing and obedient to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us to encourage others in their walk while we are still awaiting our own God-given purpose?
The struggle is real! I know… The waiting, the longing, the cries, the prayers, the tears, the sleepless nights… “When will God come through with the ANSWER? I’m obeying all the commandments. I’m doing the right things. Why is my miracle delayed?” … In the midst of these struggles life can present to us, we often become focused on ourselves so intently that we lose complete sight of the truth.
God is the beginning and the end, and nothing is too hard for Him. He is the Giver of Life and of every good thing. He is not the thief, the deceiver, the withholder of good. And we cannot achieve righteousness through our works, but only through faith in Jesus. Through our faith in Jesus, good works and obedience then flow from our lives. Our focus must remain steadfast upon the Lord, our God, with whom nothing is impossible.
Elizabeth provides an excellent example of steadfast endurance in faith and hope – waiting upon God in reverence and obedience. And then further, rejoicing in God’s faithfulness to others, encouraging them in their purpose, and continuing to worship God – regardless of the status of her long-awaited answer. May we be as enduring and encouraging as we willingly, humbly and obediently worship the Lord in quietness and trust.
Holding Fast to Hope,