Elizabeth was pregnant! After years of barrenness, the elderly woman would bear a son, John the Baptist. How special would that son be!
At a time when women were most valued for their ability to procreate, Elizabeth must have felt double the pain for her inability to conceive. Her heart must have broken because she could not love and cuddle a child of her own, but she must also have felt confusion over her purpose. If she could not be a mother, who was she meant to be?
She felt disgrace despite her inability to control her situation. It is not difficult to imagine the whispers as she passed on the street, some catty, some concerned, but always the whispers. Humiliation must have compounded the sense of loss she experienced.
Divorce is the closest I’ve come to feeling as Elizabeth must have. As a stay at home wife and mother, my world was wrapped up in being the best wife and mother I could be. Having given up my career for my family, I worked very little outside the home and lost much of my identity as an income producer. I felt like a failure and suddenly struggled with the question of, “Who am I now?” I had not only lost my best friend. I had lost a part of myself.
On top of that loss, I could literally feel the whispers of friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers in our small town. It seemed everyone knew what had happened, and I knew there were those who would speculate on what I had done to cause my husband to leave. Those whispers and that humiliation added to the incredible pain I was experiencing.
Like Elizabeth, I was disgraced for a situation beyond my control. What was worse was that I knew that my innocent children would also bear some of that disgrace.
Every day hurt, and it was difficult to believe that the Lord was working behind the scenes to bring purpose to our lives, that we would survive the loss of love, family, identity, and stability, and that we would not be disgraced forever.
Many days I had to cling to the thought that the Lord would heal our wounds and not question his timing. We live in a world of immediate satisfaction and I wanted our lives better instantly, but that is not God’s way.
I do not know why Elizabeth had to wait so long to have a baby just as I do not know why God chose not to save our marriage. He certainly has the power to do so. What I do know is that John the Baptist’s life had more meaning than most and that it was only because of Elizabeth’s patience and undying faith that God chose her to be his mother. I also know that I want to be like Elizabeth. I want the Lord to use me to be a force of positive change for my family and those I meet.
Elizabeth is one of many female role models found in the Bible. My strength, patience, and love cannot compare to hers, but I can work to emulate her and pledge to never again doubt that God will use my pain and disgrace to bring good to the world if I let him.
Something to Think About:
Everyone experiences pain. How will you handle the waiting period while God works behind the scenes?