December 21, 2014
By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
In Luke 1, Elizabeth finds herself in a most desired situation, and Mary in a most undesired situation. The pregnancy narratives of the two women together in one chapter of the Bible, cause us to compare & contrast them.
Elizabeth found joy in receiving the circumstances she desired (Luke 1:5-25). Though she was past childbearing years, God fills her desire for a child and even gives her and her husband a long awaited prophet. The angel declares (Luke 1:14) “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth.”
Mary found joy in receiving the circumstances she never desired (Luke 1:26-38). Mary’s pregnancy narrative had a similar outline to Elizabeth’s, but the details differ greatly. Mary was young, the birth was announced to her alone because she was not married, and society would heap disgrace on what they saw as immorality. In this undesired situation, Mary moved beyond self pity to focus on joy : “My Soul Glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:46). From God’s perspective, these circumstances were a source of joy.
Applications Illustrated by this Passage:
From the joy we give: Whether circumstances are desired (Elizabeth) or undesired (Mary), they are all a source of joy.
If somehow we got the message that we were undesired (e.g., not loveable, shameful, an accident, an obligation to others), we have believed a lie. Whether desired or undesired, we are a source of joy to God through God’s eyes. He chose us from the foundation of the world and rejoices over us with singing (Zep. 3:17).
From the joy we receive: Because God is active in both the desired and undesired, we can rejoice in both of them.
We rejoice and give thanks in the fulfillment of our desires, and all the good things in our lives. At the same time, when we are wounded by life, our goal is not to forget it, but to receive the love of God through the work and life of Jesus Christ. God is active and working in us in all our circumstances. He is probably more active in the undesired because we need him more. Are we open to see God working in the undesired parts of our lives?