“How kind the Lord is!” [Elizabeth] exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
Luke 1:25, NLT*
North American culture today doesn’t equate a woman’s worth with her fertility, but for women in Bible times, failure to produce a child – especially a male heir – was a source of shame.
What strikes me here is Elizabeth’s response. She’s old by this point, well past natural childbearing age. God surprises her with a miracle pregnancy as announced by an angel to her husband, Zechariah. (Luke 1:5-25)
Elizabeth is purely grateful. She alludes to the long disappointment in her life, but she’s not bitter. She sees how God’s gift is meeting that hurt.
She sees the power of God. And she accepts His timing. There’s no hint of asking why He took so long, let her be barren for so many years, waited until she’s old and feeble and has no stamina to chase a toddler all day.
“How kind the Lord is!”
If God chooses to meet our unmet longings – or if He chooses not to – He is still kind and good. He is still enough. He still does good things for us.
How do we respond?
First of all, let’s keep our eyes and hearts open to notice what He does. Let’s respond like Elizabeth, with gratitude and trust. Not with “well, it took You long enough!” Not with complaints to taint the thanks. Neither with mindless acceptance or casual indifference – nor a sense of entitlement.
Let’s respond with mindful worship and gratitude, acknowledging God’s goodness and mercy, and knowing that while He doesn’t owe us anything, He loves us enough to give His own Son to rescue and redeem us.
Our Father God, how good You are! How kind indeed. Grow in us an awareness of Your care and a humble gratitude for Your many gifts. Teach us, like Elizabeth, to respond with praise, adoration and trust.
I don’t have an “Elizabeth” song, but here’s Christy Nockels singing a “Mary” song of praise: “Magnificat” (from one of my favourite Christmas albums, Do You See What I See? by Todd Agnew & Friends).
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.