“Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1:43
Joel C. Seifert
I think of the young women and men who’ve stood before me and made confirmation promises that were boldly spoken and quickly broken. I write this article the day after another school shooting claimed 17 lives, and I fear the despair and anger that Satan sows into the world my own children are growing up in. I get afraid.
Jesus’ victory is a given
So, Elizabeth’s words amaze me and bring peace to my heart. The virgin Mary was pregnant with Jesus when she visited her cousin. Mary faced dangers. Certainly, those around her considered her guilty of adultery, a sin punishable by death. The world would be opposed to this child; Herod would order the deaths of dozens of children in hopes of killing her baby. The child she was carrying was one the great dragon would do anything to destroy.
If Elizabeth was afraid for Mary, you couldn’t hear it in her words: “But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? . . . Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:43,45). I suppose it was simple. Elizabeth was too old to have a child, but God promised she would. It was more than dangerous at her age; it was impossible. But there she was, running her hand over her growing belly. That same God also promised a Savior would come through Israel. Yes, the nation was broken. And yes, there were dangers for Mary. But God promised. So, it would happen.
The dangers to our children’s faith and safety are real. Many churches are confirming another group of eighth graders this month; the seniors receiving diplomas in a few weeks will head to college in the fall. And Jesus makes a promise: no one can snatch his sheep out of his hand. The world and the devil will attack them with lies; these young Christians can and will wander from their faith at times. But Jesus has paid for every sin they’ll fall into. Jesus will bring his people home. His victory is a given.
Jesus gives us to each other
So, God keeps giving. On May 31, the Christian church celebrates the Festival of the Visitation. We remember the three-month period during Mary’s pregnancy when she
stayed with Elizabeth and Zechariah (Luke 1:39-56). One of the chosen readings for that festival is Romans chapter 12. Consider a few encouragements from that passage: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. . . . Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another” (vv. 10,15). It’s a beautiful picture of what those faithful women must have done for each other during those dangerous days.
And it’s a reminder of the privilege we have during these dangerous days too. We won’t stop the devil from being the devil and the world won’t cease being filled with evil, but we can show Christ’s love to each other. We can encourage each other. We can weep and rejoice with each other, not in fear, but out of Christian love.
The Festival of the Visitation falls at the same time as many graduations and confirmations. Consider taking time this month to choose a younger Christian or two whom you might seek to befriend, encourage, and pray for in the years to come.
Contributing editor Joel Seifert is pastor at Beautiful Savior, Marietta, Georgia.
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Author: Joel C. Seifert
Volume 105, Number 5
Issue: May 2018
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