Encouraging You to Finish the Job Still Left to Do
‘And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”’ (Luke 1:41b-45, ESV)
Step into Mary’s shoes for just a moment. She recently heard from an angel that she was chosen out of all women to give birth to Jesus, the One the prophets and scriptures spoke about, the One her nation has waited for since its very beginning. Yet ever since this wonderful and mind-boggling news was shared with her, it was the source of a few stressful predicaments. Her husband-to-be pulled away from her emotionally, despite her promises that she was still a virgin. She probably dealt with the awful feeling that everyone was talking about her behind her back and quickly hushing themselves as she walked by. All the while, she diligently cared for
her body to make sure that it was a healthy environment to bear a child who was destined to save the world— and probably grappling with how to raise Him in a way that would prepare Him for that destiny.
So by the time Mary arrived at her cousin Elizabeth’s door, she’d probably rehearsed about a thousand different ways to tell the unbelievable turns her life had taken in the past couple of months. Mind you, Mary already knew Elizabeth’s own crazy pregnancy story: Elizabeth was an old woman who had given up on the hope of being a mother. If anyone could understand an impossible pregnancy, it would be Elizabeth, who had carried the shame of her barrenness for years. But lo and behold, when Mary entered Elizabeth’s house, Elizabeth was already six months along with a son of her own.
So when I picture Mary in this moment, I imagine that she’s timid. By now, she’s used to the whispers and false judgments that follow her, and I’m sure she’s desperate for someone to understand the nuances of what she’s struggled through alone up until this point. I’m sure she’s hopeful to find a friend in all this, yet still a bit guarded as she approaches Elizabeth, knowing full well how everyone else has reacted before.
And here’s how amazing the Lord is: the moment Elizabeth sees Mary in verse 41, Elizabeth’s unborn son did a backflip in her womb and the Holy Spirit opened her eyes to see Mary in the middle of her own heavenly promise. Mary didn’t even have to say a word. Elizabeth knew exactly what the Lord had purposed her with and immediately started to rejoice over her.
Let’s take a step back for a second. I don’t have a clue about pregnancy, let alone divine pregnancy, but I do know what it’s like to receive a promise and direction from the Lord. And if you know what that’s like too, then you know that once you start trusting God in that promise and moving forward in it, you can count on adversity to meet you along the way. Like Mary, maybe you’re familiar with the nay-sayers and the discouragements. The truth is, that’s spiritual warfare trying to keep you from doing what the Lord has asked you to do.
Mary said yes to the Lord and His plan. No one promised her that it would be easy sailing. No one guaranteed that she would get to keep her fiance, her friends, or her reputation. No one told her that the enemy wouldn’t try to steal her joy and keep her down using every petty tactic he knows. Still, she was faithful to God and believed that He would protect her and help her navigate the precious task she was given. And she wasn’t wrong, because true to His word, God was already at work before Mary was even brought in on the plan. He had already set the stage and given another unlikely woman an unbelievable opportunity to raise another powerful man of God. He had already started manifesting his Holy Spirit in Elizabeth so that when Mary finally crossed paths with her, Elizabeth would know how to speak to Mary and encourage her in the middle of her stressful situation. He already planned that two unlikely women– one too old, and one too young– would meet each other with the same impossible situation and be a comfort to each other.
I can sense Mary’s relief and refreshment in hearing the words of Elizabeth in verse 45, “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” In other words, “Thank God for you, Mary, a woman who has been so steadfast in believing that the word of the Lord would come into being. Blessed are you, Mary, who brazenly lays aside the desires of this world in order to grab onto more of God; a woman who only wants to please the Lord no matter what it costs her.”
No one knows exactly what Mary felt at the sound of those words, but my best guess would be that her heart was healed, her resolve was strengthened, and her belief was confirmed. All because Elizabeth was willing to rejoice with her over the blessing of obeying the call of the Lord.
The world will never understand why you’ve decided to follow Jesus. They will never understand why you’ve decided to say yes to His call. They will never fully grasp why you’ve decided to embrace adversity, why you’ve decided to give up comfort, safety, or privilege to gain more of Him. The fact of the matter is, as much as you might want them to understand, they don’t need to.
If you feel like Mary today– if you feel like the Lord has called you higher and included you in His wonderful plans– please allow me to encourage you. Allow me to be your Elizabeth. You are blessed beyond measure. If you are somewhere en route between point A and point B, stay steadfast. God is at work even now and taking care of your tomorrow. Yes, your situation and your calling might make you look like the mayor of Crazytown to everyone else but as long as Jesus is still at the center of that plan, don’t falter. They will understand in time, when the Lord reveals His power and goodness through you. Dig your heels in and press into the Holy Spirit. Pray. Worship. Draw near to Him. You were chosen to do this by a divine and unmatched God. Blessed are you who believe that there is fulfillment in what was spoken to you from the Lord.
If there is a peace that is warmly radiating through your chest at my words, take it as the confirmation that you are exactly where you need to be. The Lord has not let one of his precious children fall through the cracks. Why would you believe you are any different? What He speaks into existence no man can take down, so take a deep breath and get back on your grind, friend. The job isn’t done yet.
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