Last week I began a study on the Harmony of the gospels. I really feel that I am in a place in my faith where I really want to KNOW God...deeply....and I figured there is no better way to know the Father better than to study the life of His Son...for even Jesus said over and over again in scripture that if you know Him you know the Father. So I picked up my bible and a study guide and got to work expecting some deep revelations about Jesus. Funny thing is, eleven passages in, I find myself caught up much more in the stories of Mary and Elizabeth...women of faith who carried out Gods promises...then in the life of Jesus (granted Jesus was just born two passages ago)!
Most of us know the story of Mary...She's the virgin who is impregnated by the Spirit of God and becomes the mother of the Savior of the World! It's such a familiar story that I often just skim over it....figuring I know it all. But this time around I really read it.....and I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be this young girl... newly engaged and now pregnant. In today's day and age, being pregnant before marriage is much more accepted than it was back then....but for Mary, this would have out casted her....to be pregnant before consummating her relationship with her husband would have meant she cheated on him...nobody was going to believe that this was God and it was by His spirit that she was now with child...people would assume the worst of her in this. Yet Mary isn't recorded in Scripture as worrying about what people will think or how she will explain this away. Instead, even in her lack of understanding about how it would happen....She says, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true"!
Then you have Elizabeth, Mary's cousin, whose aging and considered beyond child rearing age. God hears her prayers...her outcries over being barren... and she conceives a child whom she is to name "John" and who will fortell the coming of the Lord. Can you imagine her excitement and that of her families....after all these years she's finally pregnant! Yet Elizabeth doesn't get caught up in the opinions of people. In fact when it comes to time to circumcise and name her child, she obeys the angel of the Lord and calls her son John, even though her family doesn't get it and argues that the child's name should be Zacharias after his father! Coming from a very family oriented family, I can only imagine what it must have been like for Elizabeth to stand up to her family (and her in-laws) and demand to be heard....these aren't just people who are here today and gone tomorrow....they are her family, for life! Yet...she makes a choice to honor God in spite of them.
I look at these two women and the choices they made to obey God in spite of what it might look like and in spite what their family would think...and I am inspired! As I have shared in previous blogs, a week and a half ago I left my job because I felt the Lord leading me to do so. To be honest, while that one step took a giant leap of faith on my part, it wasn't nearly as hard as walking it out now. I felt very strongly before I left my job that God would not provide the next step for me until I actually left my position. Now that I am no longer employed I do feel like God has confirmed to me what to do next.. at least for the next several months...but it's scary because I still don't know where all this ultimately leading. I want the 12 month plan while God is content with me living on a need to know basis. And so, in this moment, I long for the faith of Mary and Elizabeth... who rejoiced in what God was doing in them despite what it looked like... and who stood their ground despite what others thought! God didn't tell Mary how things would turn out once Jesus was born...yet she obeyed anyway. God didn't tell Elizabeth that her family would understand her decision to name her child John when nobody else in her family had that name....yet she obeyed anyway. God told me to take a step...and now another...and it might go on like this for the rest of my life... Yet God has not required anything more of me than my obedience. So like Mary and Elizabeth... the mighty woman of faith that they were....I choose to obey.