Facing Challenges

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If Zechariah and Elizabeth were taken by surprise by the announcement that they would have a son in their old age (Luke 1:12, 13), we can just imagine how surprised Mary was to learn that she would have a baby without ever having a relationship with a man. Today that would be possible, but not back then in ancient Israel (Luke 1:30)!

Mary took the announcement in her stride—a testament to her faith—and hurried off to see her cousin, Elizabeth, who was in her sixth month of pregnancy by that time (1:39).

Several years ago, when in a transition period in my own life, I laid claim to the words that Elizabeth pronounced over her young relative, recorded for us in Luke 1:45.

"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished."

Both Elizabeth and Mary had entered significant transitions in their lives. Mary, by the time she returned to her hometown, would be obviously pregnant. The fact that she was engaged, but not married, might have resulted in some difficult times with her friends and neighbours. After all, who would believe YOU if you told people you were with child by the Holy Spirit of God (1:35)? Knowing and malicious glances, and perhaps worse, would be cast at poor Joseph!

Elizabeth's words were meant to be a comfort to Mary. Her ability to weather the storms to come depended on what she believed about God. And so it is with us. Whatever the changes life brings to us, the challenges, and the troubles, believing that God will fulfill Romans 8:28 in our lives becomes critical to keeping our heads up and our hearts full of joy.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Both Elizabeth and Mary had been called on by God to fulfill unexpected roles for the kingdom. None of us knows today what God might ask of us tomorrow. But we can be assured that His blessing will rest on us as we obediently follow His leading and as we believe that He will do in us, and through us, His perfect will.

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