When will it be MY turn? Why do I HAVE to wait? Is God hearing me? How much longer? Have you forgotten me? This isn’t fair! What are you trying to teach me, Lord?
I had all these questions and more a few weeks ago. I took my questions and grabbed my bible and begged for some answers. I definitely didn’t get ALL the answers I wanted, but the Lord DID minister to me in a powerful way through one of the sweetest, sweetest stories.
In my quiet time, I started reading the gospel of Luke and saw Chapters 1 and 2 with a totally new perspective. Luke 1: 6-7 cuts to the chase rather quickly, “Both of them [Zechariah & Elizabeth] were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.” The story continues with an angel appearing to Zechariah and telling him that their prayers have been heard and they are to have a son named John (as in John. The. Baptist!). The angel shares the important purpose of John: he will be filled with the Holy Spirit and he will make the way for the Lords coming.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were old (some say she was 88! Gasp!). Elizabeth was YEARS past menopause. They had struggled for DECADES with infertility, yet remained righteous and blameless (amazing!). When Zechariah heard this news, he didn’t believe it. How could this be possible? So the angel sealed his lips and told him there was an appointed time for this to happen.
Elizabeth became pregnant not long after and she sat in seclusion for five months. I can’t imagine what those five months were like! I can’t imagine what she did when she found out she was expecting! I’m sure she jumped up and down and praised God like she never had before! Maybe she laughed just as Sarah had. Maybe it took weeks to really sink in that her dreams of holding a baby in her arms were coming true. She knew it was the Lord who performed this miracle for her! The Lord heard all those years of prayers. He never forgot her! I’m sure as each week of pregnancy passed, her praises to the Lord became louder and louder. She was shown FAVOR! For so many years other couples looked down on her. For so many years she felt unworthy. Not. Any. More!
Six months into pregnancy, the same angel appeared to Elizabeth’s virgin cousin Mary. Gabriel, the angel, announced that Mary was going to conceive a son named Jesus, and that her cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant. Gabriel ended his message by saying, “No word from God will ever fail.”
Mary rushed to her cousin Elizabeth’s home. I’m sure she probably had never ran so fast in her life. I mean, she just had an ANGEL appear to her and tell her she was going to carry the SAVIOR of the world. I’m sure she was sprinting. This was the most incredible news! The second she walked into the door, Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth exclaimed, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! (Luke 1:45).” I can just picture this sweet and heavenly exchange between cousins that day. I’m sure there was a lot of hugging, a lot of tears, and a whole lot of praise. I’m sure they dreamed together what their babies were going to do. Not only was God planning something miraculous, but He also gave Elizabeth someone to celebrate the miracle with and someone to walk alongside her during this joyous time (her husband was silenced after all!).
Elizabeth was NOT thinking, “I can’t believe I had to wait this long and look at this teenager getting pregnant before she’s even married!” Nope. No resentment. No jealously. Only pure rejoicing to the Lord who had planned this moment long ago. Not only was she overjoyed, Elizabeth was humbled by the fact that Mary visited her and was in awe of the work God was doing. She felt honored that her young cousin came to see her because she was carrying her Lord.
After reading this remarkable story, one particular phrase stuck out to me the most. It was when Gabriel said, “My words…will come true at their appointed time (Luke 1:20).” Appointed. Time. Those two words hit me like a ton of bricks.
Mary and Elizabeth could not have had more opposite stories. Mary was in her early teens. She wasn’t married. She hadn’t struggled with infertility. She hadn’t even planned a wedding yet! In another parallel universe, Elizabeth had been struggling for decades. She had been a faithful wife and a faithful follower. She did everything right (hence, she was righteous and blameless), yet God had her wait. I can imagine Elizabeth shouting out to the Lord when she was 20, 30, 40, and 50 years old asking Him to send her a child. I can imagine the amount of tears that were shed in her time of waiting. I can picture the despair she felt when others looked on her with disgrace. I can guarantee that if Elizabeth could’ve had it her way, she would’ve had that baby YEARS ago.
But, she couldn’t of had that baby years ago. That baby had an appointed time.
All those years that Elizabeth was shouting out to God, God was planning something so miraculous. This story is SO MIRACULOUS that it has been told for THOUSANDS of years. God didn’t send Elizabeth her baby the first time she asked. God sent him at the appointed time He needed him. God had a very specific purpose for her baby. He needed the baby to be born on a certain day. Elizabeth had been waiting so long for her child to come, and she was able to see that the waiting was not in vain. Her child was going to be the one who prepared the way for the KING OF THE WORLD. Her sweet baby changed so many hearts and brought so many to Christ. He loved the Lord so much that he died for Him. He could not have been born earlier. His days were planned and they were exact. He had an appointed time.
Now, I’m not saying my baby will be John the Baptist or that yours will be Jesus. But, I can promise you ladies that God hears our prayers even when we feel He is miles away. I can promise you that He is close and He is planning something spectacular for you! He knows your heart and He knows your pain. He has the appointed times for our miracle babies. The icing on the cake is that He also sends those to rejoice with us, just as He did Mary and Elizabeth.
When I see friends getting pregnant immediately, I often think of Elizabeth and I pray for her sweet and loving spirit. I am reminded that those friend’s precious babies all have appointed times. I may never know why their babies have come early, and I had to wait, but I do know that God appointed the times for both of us. God sends babies at the exact time He needs them, so whenever that time comes, we must rejoice! How much better was God’s timing then Elizabeths? John the Baptist did such BIG things for the kingdom of God. If Elizabeth would have had it her way, the big picture would not have been so big.
I’ve held on so tightly to the hope that Elizabeth and Mary’s stories bring. I firmly believe Taylor and I will have a child. We are trusting in the Lord’s timing. From Luke Chapters 1 and 2, I wrote a prayer for our future child and would love to share it. Each line of the prayer are pulled from verses in the chapters:
We pray that our future child will be a joy and delight to you, and that they will be great in your sight. We pray that our child will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before they are born. We pray that our precious child will grow and become strong, that they will be filled with wisdom, and that the grace of God will be on them. We pray that we may always treasure moments with our child in our hearts. Please allow our child to grow not only in stature, but also in wisdom and in favor to God. We pray that we may hold steadfast to your promises and trust in your timing. May we fully believe that You will fulfill your promises for we know nothing is impossible with God.”
Luke 1: 14-15, Luke 2: 40- 52