Thursday, February 24, 2011

Visiting Elizabeth

What will I do? What should I do? I’m so confused!

Been there. Said that. Many times.

In the midst of uncertainty, I get caught up in trying to figure it all out. The whole picture. I panic. And I worry. And I find myself slowly becoming preoccupied with myself and my uncertainty. Slowly shutting out all around me as I focus on the one problem.

Even in my prayers.

Long ago another woman experienced uncertainty in her life. In one small moment, everything changed in a big way.

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin…and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you…and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus…the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Luke 1:26-28, 31, 35)

And in this life-changing moment for Mary and for the whole world, she replies with humility, trust, and grace.

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (vs. 38)

Only a minute before, she was a simple, prayerful teenage girl. And now—the Mother of God.

Yet she reacted to the uncertainty in her life so very different from the way I often react. Instead of focusing on herself and trying to figure it all out, she focused outside of herself…on the needs of others.

She visited Elizabeth.

“Behold,” the angel had told her, “your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible. ” (vs 36-37)

At a time when so many questions must have been swirling in her head, when she had good reason to be preoccupied with herself and her situation, she choose to trust God with her future. Instead of becoming paralyzed by worry and fear, she took a small step, a practical step—helping her neighbor.

I could learn something from this.

Because the older I get (I did have a birthday recently, you know!), the more I’m realizing that Uncertainty is a frequent companion on this journey of life. If I allow fear, worry, and selfishness to rule during those times, I’m not only being disobedient to the One who commands me to cast my cares on Him, but I’m also missing out on the beauty of peace, faith, and trust.

And the crazy thing is…when I choose to focus outside of myself, as Mary did—to chat with the grocery cashier, to sit with my elderly neighbor, to write a note to a friend—I actually find myself more joyful and refreshed by letting go of my own cares.

Life is beautiful and uncertain. Yet our God is all-knowing, almighty, and full of love for us as individuals.

"Cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

And visit your Elizabeth.

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