Elizabeth didn't tell anyone she was pregnant for five whole months, more than half of her pregnancy. She didn't need to. The goodness of God satisfied the deepest places in her soul, and there was nothing that anyone could add to that - not even if the truth of her blessing took away her shame.
Still, Elizabeth was holding a painful secret for those five months. Painful not for her, but for everyone else.
You see, for five months, everyone else in that town had the opportunity to know the goodness of God, but Elizabeth didn't tell them. She didn't even let them see. God had done something amazing, truly amazing, right in their midst, and no one knew about it.
Because they didn't know about it, they kept going to the Temple to offer sacrifices. They kept making and burning incense on the altar. They kept going through the motions of religious life as they knew it, without any awareness at all of the inbreaking of God right there among them. Without any awareness at all that God Himself was becoming present in their midst.
There was, right there in this womb, the prophet of God that in just a matter of years, everyone in this location would go out into the wilderness to see. They would listen to his message and step into the river to receive his baptism. And for five months, they knew nothing about him.
It seems like such a small thing in the grand scheme of all things, but is it?
How many persons gave up believing there would ever be a Messiah in those five months? How many gave up believing there would even be another prophet...ever? How many barren women gave up believing God would ever open their wombs? How many men divorced or otherwise ostracized their barren wives?
How many persons in Jerusalem died in those five months when the promise of God was right in their midst and they never knew it, never even suspected?
We get into this weird space where the goodness of God is so satisfying in our souls that we don't feel the need to announce it on the street corners, and yet, we live in a world thirsty for the goodness of God, a world that desperately needs to hear it.
There are persons right now whose lives would be blessed by knowing what God is doing in yours. Whose prayer would be encouraged by knowing that God had answered yours. Whose brokenness would hurt a little less if they knew that God was still in the business of healing. There are persons in your world right now who need the promise of God in your life. They need to hear about it.
For that reason, we have to keep speaking it. We have to share. We can't hide in our houses for five months while the promise of God develops; we have to claim it and show it and share it and put it all out there.
How many persons are going to give up believing between this moment right now and whenever we decide the time is "right" to tell them how good God has been to us? How many persons are going to give up on themselves? How many will give up on God? How many are going to die between today and the day this promise comes leaping out of our womb?
How many persons does our silence condemn?
I get why Elizabeth didn't tell anyone for five months; she didn't feel any compulsion to. She didn't have to.
But I wonder how it would have changed lives if she had.
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