At this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:39-41)
Faith is delicate. Dry gusts of cynicism and rationalization easily wilt it like a lily. For faith to come to full term it has to be protected and nurtured. When faith bears fruit, it is strengthened itself, ready for the next challenge.
After Gabriel told Mary that she would bear Jesus, Mary hurried to Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with John. The two women spent three months together. Joseph stayed in Nazareth. Zacharias’ communication was limited to scratches on a tablet. Gabriel had grounded his tongue six months earlier because of his unbelief. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all.”
Mary and Elizabeth had each experienced God do a miracle. The barren and the virgin had become pregnant. Both had to endure the unspoken thoughts of friends and relatives. Was Elizabeth experiencing a phantom pregnancy? In Mary’s case the exchanged frowns would hurt most. “We all know what she’s been up to.”
But after six months Elizabeth was showing. The promise was in bud and about to blossom. Mary went to feast her eyes and her soul on Elizabeth’s swelling belly. They were the only people who could really provide pre-natal care for each other’s faith. God worked through that visit. Before Mary closed the door behind her, Elizabeth felt John convulse, and the Holy Spirit filled her. She shouted out her blessing on Mary. Mary responded with praise to God.
Mary witnessed Elizabeth’s pregnancy almost to full term and returned to Nazareth even more convinced about God’s word to her.
When God speaks something new to us we need others around us to help us walk out in faith the implications of what He said. Otherwise His words might be swallowed up in the humdrum of life and suffocated by cynics. Are you like Mary, seeking out those who will encourage your faith, and tactfully avoiding naysayers? Do you act as a faith-building Elizabeth to people who are pregnant with God’s promises but with little else to show?
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