Faith that Encourages
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Can you imagine the conversations that followed this holy greeting?
Constant chatter would have been a sharp contrast to her life of silence with Zechariah! Mary and Elizabeth had months to fill with laughter, love, and precious memories; weeks to linger over dreams, hopes, and prayers for the future; days filled with talk about unexpected babies.
But this wasn’t a social visit.
Elizabeth was a godly, “upright” woman who “blamelessly” followed God’s commands (Luke 1:5-6). God sent Mary to Elizabeth for spiritual encouragement—and we see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit from the first moment of their reunion.
But then what? Did they search prophecies in Scripture to learn about their sons? Did they cry together at the hardships they would face as mothers? Oh, what a marvel it would have been to hear their prayers! The nurturing that followed was certainly founded on the Word and promises of God. But then, with no details to satisfy our curiosity, Mary left, and Elizabeth would become busy with her newborn son.
How did Elizabeth know when the Savior was born? Did she hear the angels singing in the sky or see the shining radiance of the Lord’s glory? Did her heart leap for joy at Christ’s birth? Scripture doesn’t tell us she did. Perhaps, like so many others before and after, she saw it only through eyes of faith.
Elizabeth didn’t need to hear the angels, see the Lord’s glory, or hold the Christ-child because she trusted it would happen. God promised it. Elizabeth believed it—and the influence of her strong faith wasn’t just for Mary. It stands as an encouragement for us as well.
Elizabeth gave birth to the prophet who would prepare the way of Christ and “turn the hearts of the parents to their children” (Malachi 4:6). God chose to fulfill this promise through an old, barren woman after years and years of waiting. And then God gave her even more—the evidence of a Holy Spirit filled child, who before he was even born, leapt in the presence of Christ in utero.
How can we live with such certain faith? How can we trust so solidly in God’s unfailing promises and the presence of the unseen, eternal Christ? How can we wait and wait yet still live in a way that trusts and draws attention to the goodness of God?
Pour over the Word. Read God’s promises. Trust they are for you.
Elizabeth praised Mary saying, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” We can live with that same unfaltering faith, encouraging one another to look to the Lord through hardships and difficulties.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the people of Scripture that are a beautiful example of faith. Thank you for the people in my life who have been an encouragement to me. Fill me with your Spirit and strengthen my faith to live in your grace and forgiveness. But Lord, I also want to be an encouragement to others. Show me who I can encourage this Advent season and give me courage to reach out with your love. In your holy name I pray, Amen.
Written by Naomi Schmidt
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry