WHEN FAITH IS FRAGILE
And Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned to her home.
When Mary became pregnant by the Spirit of God, she picked up her things and went straight to Elizabeth's house. When Elizabeth saw her, she knew something momentous had taken place. She immediately prophesied over her and provided a place for Mary to spend the most tenuous time of any woman's pregnancy - the first trimester.
When Mary experienced the most severe symptoms of morning sickness, she was safe in Elizabeth's care. When Mary first deliberated the cost of carrying the son of God, she was with the one who was safe for her spiritually. When Jesus' life was the most fragile, his mother cared for him best by securing the best possible environment.
There can be many reasons why faith is fragile. Symbolically, Like Mary, I can be pregnant with God's calling on my life. The first days and months after God has spoken to me is the most critical time to be a guardian of that 'new thing'. That is the time when I'm prone to question what I heard Him say. I'm also the most vulnerable to others talking me out of it. Until His Word is established in my heart and has fully taken root, I must be diligent to keep company with the likes of Elizabeth. I must secure an environment of safety where His Word can be received, not questioned.
My faith can also be fragile because I've walked so long in the wilderness that my strength to hold on is spent. What I once believed in the light is now a shadow in the dark. Did Mary have a crisis of faith? It's hard for me to believe that she didn't. The spiritual mountaintop of her angelic visitation soon gave way to the pressures of being pregnant before her marriage to Joseph. Who would believe her? Would they stone her? Would Joseph want a divorce? When I step from the safety of my boat into the raging seas, proclamations of faith can disappear. All the more reason for me to seek out an Elizabeth. She will comfort and she will confirm God's promises. Is this not the very reason God sent out people in pairs?
Solomon said, "Walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous." The 'righteous' does not always describe every child of God, only the one who is also able to hear and obey the voice of God no matter the cost. This bears out with the story of Elizabeth. She was also pregnant with a child who would bring great controversy. (John the Baptist) Who better to nurture Mary in her most vulnerable time than another woman who was pregnant with God's call!
I choose my company wisely and guard my heart against any whose cancer of unbelief might threaten to undermine my fragile faith.
Show me how to guard what is so precious. Minister to me, Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, Amen
Originally published Wednesday, 19 December 2018.