Many of you may know me as Elizabeth, and until I moved to Africa only my close friends called me Liz. When I moved to South Africa, I would introduce myself as Elizabeth and everyone looked at me funny. I am sure it was the thick Texas accent and not the name itself. But from then on, I introduced myself as Liz and everyone seemed to catch on a lot quicker. So, Liz it is, for now. I actually love my given name, which is Mary Elizabeth. Now, growing up in school when you had to tell the teacher you went by your second name, that was not as fun. But as the years have gone by I love the name. Most of you may guess that it is from the Bible and I guess for some part it is, but it’s a family name and that’s what I cherish.
But back to Elizabeth…
Elizabeth is most famous for being the mother of John the Baptist. But did you know she was barren? And that she and her husband, Zechariah, were old. Now, they did not exactly say how old, but if it’s mentioned in the Bible that you are old, we aren’t talking 50s or 60s old. Her story can be found in Luke 1 of the New Testament. Elizabeth was now old and barren and I imagine she was not feeling all that great about herself. What were women to do? Run the house and have babies. So half her “job” she couldn’t do. Or so she thought. Her story can be seen from many different angles depending on where you are with pregnancy. There are many women who suffer from infertility and I want to be cautious of hurting anyone. Infertility, I have been told, is a very, very, tough thing to go through and deal with; and I won’t pretend to know all your hurt and suffering. I know the suffering of miscarriage, but was elated to see three positive pregnancy test.
Can you imagine Zechariah being told by the angel, Gabriel, that his wife would become pregnant and bear a child that would tell the world of the coming King? I cannot imagine and neither could Zechariah. Luke 1:20 says, ‘And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”. He was made mute because of his disbelief. He couldn’t speak until the baby was born. Kinda funny, but kinda not. So, through hand signals and who knows what else, the crowd got the message that he had gotten a word from the Lord.
Soon after, Mary was told by the same angel that she was to become pregnant with Jesus, the son of the Most High. Gabriel also told her that her cousin, Elizabeth was pregnant as well. So Mary went to Elizabeth and as soon as her voice was heard in the house, the baby, that Elizabeth was carrying, leapt from her womb. We all know babies move around, but can you imagine the fright? This baby was bouncing so much that he leapt. Here was Elizabeth, old and pregnant and probably had been given much advice about having a baby and all she wanted was to be happy! A miracle baby! A baby that was going to tell the world about Jesus, at that!
Miracles happen. I don’t know where you are in your life and what circumstances may find you “old and barren” and given up hope; but listen carefully, miracles still happen. Miracles that maybe you don’t expect or ones you could even dream of. Believe me, 10 years ago, I couldn’t imagine being a missionary in Africa. There were things that I thought left our life “old and barren” to the thought of being a missionary. But the Lord works and moves and allows miracles to happen in our life. I pray that if you are lonely and down that you would be encouraged by the story of Elizabeth. Her miracle may not match your miracle, but yet the miracles still come.