READ: Luke 1:39-56 ESV
Have you ever felt afraid to do something God has called you to do? Or been overwhelmed by a path He has chosen for you?
Have you ever needed encouragement from a friend?
Certainly, we can all answer “yes” to at least one of those questions. And certainly Mary—the girl chosen by God to bear the Savior of the world—would have been familiar with those feelings.
In fact, it is through the account of Mary and Elizabeth in Luke 1 that we see a beautiful picture of godly friendship and encouragement between two women called by God to do extraordinary things.
Mary—a humble girl and an unmarried virgin—was greeted by an angel who quickly turned her world upside down. Gabriel informed Mary that through the power of the Holy Spirit she would soon become pregnant and give birth to the Son of the Most High. And as a sign of God’s incomparable power, the angel also told her that her friend (and relative) Elizabeth—who was well past child-bearing years—was in her sixth month of pregnancy!
As soon as the angel left Mary, she did something that so many of us can relate to: she ran to see her friend! Can’t you relate to running to a friend in order to process unexpected, life-changing, news?
Mary went in search of her friend who, according to the angel, had her own glorious news to share. Two women called by God—appointed to deliver His glorious promises to this world.
We are told in Luke 1:41 that the moment Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, her baby (soon to be known as John the Baptist) leapt inside her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. And as if unable to hold in her praise, Elizabeth joyfully expressed her joy at all that God was doing through Mary.
So often we are prone to question God’s calling, aren’t we? We may even ask ourselves if God really called us to do something, and if He did we wonder if we will be able to do it. And so often God will sweetly confirm His calling on us through the encouragement of a friend.
What a blessing it must have been for Mary to have Elizabeth confirm God’s word to her.
Elizabeth humbly and joyfully received Mary—not even taking time to share her own glorious news that she was having a child after so many long childless years. Elizabeth simply allowed herself to be used by the LORD to bring encouragement to a young girl who had been called to do something extraordinary for God.
Then in response to the beautiful encouragement from Elizabeth, Mary lifted her voice in her own praise of the God of the impossible—the One who always keeps His word.
Mary and Elizabeth encouraged each other through their worship of the One true God. They surrendered their will for His, their plans for His. And they did it together—each encouraging and edifying the other.
Mary and Elizabeth provide a beautiful example of what it means to encourage and build each other up. Let us strive—through the power of the Spirit—to be friends who encourage each other to follow God’s calling on our lives. Let’s lay aside jealousy, envy, and pride and rejoice in what God is doing in each other’s life.
And let us continue to point each other to the character of God and the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Lord, we long to be women who encourage others in Your truth. Help us to rejoice wth those who rejoice, to mourn with those who mourn, and to always point each other to the hope found in You and You alone. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
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