Wednesday, January 16, 2019

In Humility

Today, I wrote a letter to my 19 year old niece (Yes, I'm old school and still write letters).  I'm very close to this particular niece who lovingly calls me her "Motherly Aunt".   She saved all her own money to serve a religious mission in Canada sharing messages of happiness, hope and peace for the next 16 months.  I'm proud of her and a portion of my letter went something like this....

This morning I woke up at 6:00am and picked up the Bible for a quick read.  30 minutes later, I was still reading which felt really nice.  This New Year I'm trying to create healthy habits and this is one that should definitely stick. Ironically, I opened the scriptures to the New Testament and started reading in Luke, Chapter 1.  I love this story for obvious reasons as it's a precursor for Luke 2, which we read every Christmas Eve.  But before we get to a pregnant Mary riding a donkey into Bethlehem and the beautiful nativity that unfolds ... we learn about an angel telling Mary she will be the mother of the Son of God - and the experience of Elisabeth, her cousin.   

This was the unexpectedly part of today's reading as I've never really delved too far into Elisabeth's story. (Let's be honest - Luke 2 gets read a lot.  The rest... not so much!). In speaking about Elisabeth and her husband Zacharias, in Luke 1:6-7 it says, 

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

Sound familiar?! Well... Elisabeth was actually 88 years old. I'm only 44. And she was also a little lot more righteous than me. But in reading this story today, it is one that I can deeply relate to. 

So the story unfolds, an angel appeared to Zacharias, who told him that Elizabeth would have a son who "will be great in the sight of the Lord" (1:15).  But Zacharias expressed doubts that such a thing could be possible, because "I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years" (1:18). I get it because a miracle was happening very late in their lives, even though that miracle was a son named John the Baptist.  Some really beautiful scriptures are in this story though, and here's a few that really stood out and spoke to me...   

24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 
25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Reproach.  I get it.  It wasn't easy being a barren women at any point in the scriptures.  This is also true for 2018.  Then there is the fact that Elisabeth wanted to keep it quite for awhile.  I totally understand that too.  Mary did a very similar thing all throughout the birth story of Jesus, as the scriptures say multiple times that she "kept these things and pondered them in her heart".

But then there is the really good verse that packed the punch...

37 For with God nothing will be impossible.

Wow. "For with God, nothing will be impossible".  This is what the angel told May when he told her that she was going to conceive the Son of God and that her barren cousin, Elisabeth, was also going to conceive a child who would be instrumental in the salvation of mankind.  

From a mortal perspective, it was impossible.  A virgin could not conceive. Nor could a barren woman who was well past child-bearing years.  But God had a plan.  So against all earthly odds, both Mary and Elisabeth became mothers.

Do you think that this also means that a 44 year old women who is semi-righteous most some of the time, can also experience a miracle? Even to the lesser degree?

I do.    

In reading the scriptures today I am reminded that I should never, never, never give up on my hopes and dreams.  For whatever reason God's timing meant that the blessing Elisabeth and Zacharias desired - to have a child -came much later than they expected.  I too find myself having to wait for a blessing.  Often it has seemed that God hasn't heard my prayers and I've been very discouraged.  But this story serves as a reminder that He hasn't forgotten me.  And he hasn't forgotten you either.

As Jeffrey R Holland reminds us, "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but or those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." 

No matter what life throws at you, my darling niece - never, never, never forget this really important truth. For with God, nothing will be impossible. 


I love writing letters and this was a good one for me to reflect and ponder upon.  March 8th is going to be a really glorious day for Mr. Thompson and Me. I'm not worthy of an angel by a long shot, but I can feel a miracle in the depths of my spirit. 

And I'll never take that feeling for granted.  

1 comment:

  1. You are such a caring aunt! I am excited for you to become a mother. :-)


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