A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
It had only been a few days since the angel appeared to Mary. Joseph didn’t believe her and was thinking about breaking up. Her parents may not have believed her either. After all, it was an incredible tale—“an angel told me I’m pregnant with the Son of God.” Yeah, right.
People may have accused her of making up an incredible lie to cover her misdeed of getting pregnant before marriage. Some may have accused her of blasphemy for bringing God into her cover-up. People around town were beginning to whisper about her. She couldn’t help but notice. She needed to get away.
The angel had mentioned her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant after years of barrenness. She would go see her. If Elizabeth was with child, as the angel claimed, it would confirm the whole event. She needed that bit of confirmation because life was falling apart. One day she was happily engaged to be married and the next day everyone was accusing her of misconduct.
We’ve all felt the sting of other people not believing us. We’ve experienced the shame of other people gossiping about us. No wonder Mary wanted to get away. Don’t we all feel like that at times?
Elizabeth was overjoyed to see Mary. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth poured out a loving blessing to Mary that must have soothed and healed Mary’s concerns. Elizabeth said the baby in her womb jumped for joy when she heard Mary’s greeting.
So it was true. Elizabeth was pregnant, as the angel told her. This confirmed the words of the angel. She, too, must be pregnant, as the angel said.
Girl talk ensued. Elizabeth told the tale of the angel appearing to her husband, Zechariah. He had been speechless ever since. Hearing of someone’s angelic visitation assured Mary that her own experience was real. She wasn’t going crazy after all.
When Mary arrived, Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy and Mary stayed for three months, which means she stayed with Elizabeth until the baby was born. They named him John.
Mary did more than run away from her problems and the troublesome responses of her friends and family. She didn’t just escape; she sought friendship and comfort. She sought out someone who would understand without judging her. She needed a friend to encourage her when she felt like she was at a breaking point. And she spent her time being productive by helping someone else instead of focusing on herself.
God has chosen you, but that doesn’t mean everything will be roses along the way. People may not believe you. They may question your motives. They may even abandon you. But God has chosen you to follow this path and he will work through you to accomplish his purposes. He will also give you the support you need along the way, such as a good friend, a chance to get away for a time, or a period of refreshing before the next hard thing. Look for the blessings God leaves you to refresh you along the way.
Lord, I have experienced some of what Mary experienced. Some people haven’t believed me or have questioned my motives. Others have broken up our relationship. I’ve experienced gossip and shame. Sometimes I just want to get away from it all, but I know you have chosen me to walk this path. You have a purpose for my life and a role for me in your story. Give me the support I need. Heal the wounds inflicted by those closest to me. Make my heart glad, even as I endure difficult things. Thank you for being with me, for living in me, and for living through me for your glory.
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