During the time Jesus was to enter this world, Elizabeth and Zechariah were also expecting their first child. Though they were considered righteous in the Lord’s eyes, they endured pain and disgrace for many years prior to seeing the desire of their heart fulfilled. Yet in the midst of their watching, waiting, hoping and praying they remained faithful to their calling to serve God. In fact, it was during the time Zechariah was fulfilling his duties as a priest the unexpected happened: an angel of the Lord appeared prophesying the destiny of their son who would arrive a few months before Jesus.
I can relate to how Elizabeth must have felt. We know from scripture she was an older woman who was past her child-bearing years. I imagine there were days she dreamed about her future as a mom and her heart sank in despair at her present reality. Proverbs 13:12 says that delayed hope makes a heart sick but a fulfilled longing is a tree of life. How did she cope with the heartache? My guess is she sought the Lord’s presence and was strengthened by faith.
I am nearly 50 years old and have experienced a burning in my heart to step into my calling. During my watching, waiting, hoping and praying I have remained faithful to serve God with the gifts he has graciously bestowed upon me. When hope starts to fade, I find my faith bolstered in His presence. His voice whispers in my ear and visions of destiny restore my hope. My heart is set to expectancy again.
Although Zechariah stood in the presence of the Lord in disbelief, there is something about a mother’s heart that will persist in prayer until something happens. Could it be her trust in God birthed her heart’s desire at the right time? God’s time.
Sometimes it is when we least expect it that hope is birthed and fulfilled in our hearts. We have to be faithful to what God has called us to do in the midst of our pain and trust God’s timing to bring about our heart’s desire. Then He is faithful to see us through our pain and fulfill our deepest longing.