Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Holy Satisfaction

So here we have Elizabeth, who is living a life marked by shame and public disgust. Her days are a blur of judgment and pity, as all of the other women know she is barren for a reason. Women aren't just barren; they deserve their barrenness. Her husband has gone into the Temple to serve at the altar and has come out mute, so he's no longer any help. He can't defend her. And then, something incredible happens - Elizabeth becomes pregnant. 

But she doesn't tell anyone. 

And it seems counterintuitive to us, because if we had a truth that would make everyone else stop talking about us, we'd be shouting it from the rooftops. We'd be going out buying all the ugliest maternity clothes that we could find, so that everyone could see right away that we're pregnant. We'd be carrying around the ultrasound photos and maybe even the little pee stick. Look, I'm pregnant! See, I'm pregnant! We would become everything that God tells us in Matthew not to be - Pharisees standing on the street corner, declaring our own pregnancy for the sole sake of being seen. But not Elizabeth.

Why not? Because Elizabeth, filled with the goodness of God and His promises, doesn't have anything to prove to anyone. 

She's probably spent her life wanting to show those women. Wanting to tell the townspeople what's what. Wanting to prove herself. Wanting to show herself worthy. She's probably spent nights, and even days, dreaming about what it would be like to shut everyone up and to stop being "the barren woman." But when it finally comes to happen, when God finally does this good and beautiful thing in her life, all that petty enviousness and the ache of betrayal just...vanishes. She is so full of the goodness of God that it satisfies her very soul and she no longer needs, nor even wants, the approval of others. 

This is perhaps a greater gift even than the child that is in her womb. All the striving ceases. All the ache disappears. All the burden, gone. Elizabeth knows without question in this moment that God sees her, that God hears her, that God knows her, and that God loves her. 

There is nothing else in all the world that she needs. 

Oh, that we would be blessed to know the same! 

We get so hung up on what we think are the answers to our prayer, even when they come. We would get so wrapped up in the pregnancy - in taking care of ourselves, in planning the nursery, in making arrangements for care, in notifying family, in choosing names, in making decoration, in the thousands of things that we know that we have to do when a baby is coming. And all the while, we'd be thanking God for this baby, thanking God for finally giving us this one thing that we have wanted for so long. We would be so focused on the child that was coming that we'd miss this kind of satisfaction in our souls. 

We'd miss the goodness of God because we'd be so wrapped up in the goodness of the baby. 

Do you feel that? Does that make sense to your aching heart? Do you get how that close and yet, so far away from what God wants for us in a moment like this? 

Elizabeth just let the truth of God's goodness sink down into her heart. It wasn't about the baby, although she was thrilled with the promise of John. It was about the God who sees her, hears her, knows her, and loves her. With that truth nestled in her soul, she doesn't have to rush out and start telling everyone the good news. What could their approval possibly add to her experience at this point? What could her heart still be missing when it is so full of God? 

Nothing. In short, the answer is nothing. Which is why for five months, Elizabeth didn't tell anyone she was pregnant. 

She didn't have to. 

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