Elizabeth: More Than Just a Positive Attitude
Today's article is another installment in Sister Alena X. Ricci's series on the women of the Bible.
Elizabeth is a familiar figure in scripture. I think that, as women, we are told to look to her as an example. Here was a woman who was faithful, never-changing, and consistent in her service to God. She was walking in all the commandments before God. She did everything she could to be a righteous, faithful example.
But she was barren. (As I went through this story, I was reminded of how familiar this is both in Scripture and in our own lives today.)
She was well respected, and when her husband went to the temple and came back mute, sharing the news that she was to have a child, I like to imagine that she laughed.
But unlike Sarah, she didn’t laugh at the power of God, but instead at her husband for having an angel actually tell him what was going to happen and still voice disbelief. (How many times does God show us something directly and we still doubt?)
Elizabeth goes through her pregnancy, and one day Mary comes to visit her (the story appears in Luke 1:39-56), and the Holy Spirit falls upon Elizabeth so strongly that she gives Mary a blessing.
She says a key phrase in verse 45, “and blessed is she that believed.”
That is very simple, very easy to understand.
Blessed is she that believed.
She’s blessed because she believes.
Elizabeth has seen the fruit of believing, of knowing that God’s hand was still moving in her life, even at an old, barren age. There’s a wisdom there when she says that because she is also saying it of herself. “I’m blessed and only because I have always believed in God’s love for me.”
What is important here is that there is a flip side to this. The flip side is that Elizabeth still would have believed even if she never conceived.
Her faith was constant, unchanging, and she was going to believe in God for the rest of her life even if John the Baptist never came.
For me, it is the women like Elizabeth who have unflinching faith who are the hardest to connect to.
Elizabeth is a great example of how being consistent in God is so important, and not only that, rewarding. But there’s such an important lesson to be learned here that even if there was no baby, there was no “reward,” her faith would not have changed.
Her story does not begin by saying that she was righteous and her faith was failing because she was barren. Instead, it begins by saying that she was righteous and had no children, but still she was faithful and still her husband had important religious and spiritual duties.
I have seen brothers and sisters in my own branch stand up after a tragedy and thank God for His goodness, and in that moment they are Elizabeth. They are able to be constant and strong, and it amazes me.
This sense of spiritual maturity is something that we should all be working towards, that even after getting a speeding ticket (speaking to myself here), we thank God.
This is a lot more than just being positive; this is being positive of the power of God in your life, that He is still moving and that He loves you more than anything.
That’s the story of Elizabeth: that she was faithful and would have been even if the miracle of her son never came, and this is the testimony of what our lives should be, that we are faithful even if a miracle never comes our way.
Elizabeth's story is found in Luke 1:5-80.
Detail from "The Visitation" (1640) by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn. (You Michiganders can check this one out in person at the Detroit Institute of the Arts.)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.