“In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” Luke 1:5-7
It seems odd at times, that those who are most bereft are those who love God the most. The pain and heartbreak that is involved with infertility is something that many women are unfortunately forced with facing. It has been referred to as a deadly illness by some, or the ominous shadow following closely behind by others. Even though women today (in most cases) aren’t met with the same kind of public shaming over infertility that occurred at this time in history, it is still a very real, and very prominent pain, that affects over 11 percent of married women and probably many more women than surveyed. However, here we see addressed, Zechariah who is a priest of the division of Abijah, and Elizabeth - his wife - who is a descendant of Aaron, the first priest of Israel. These two, are barren, however they, like Noah, are called “righteous before God” and blameless in all the commands and statutes of the Lord, yet they cannot bear children, and they are publically shamed. And we ask, how can God do something like this to people like that?
Although Zechariah and Elizabeth are unable to have children, we realize later in the story that God was working something miraculous and powerful through these two, and their pain. Making them wait until just the right time, was how God worked out his perfect plan of grace. It is by their pain and barrenness that God showed his redemptive power, and to set in motion a witness for Jesus Christ to the world. We will be met with difficulties that we could define as a “deadly illness” or an “ominous shadow”. We may struggle with pain and suffering for decades as did Zechariah and Elizabeth; but here we are reminded of the joy that comes from suffering; our deficient perspective of the world and events, prevent us from being able to see the good plans that God is perfecting out of our trials and our pains. We are reminded again to renew our trust in God’s sovereign will, even through the most crippling pain and what sometimes seems to be endless tears.
- 1 Chronicles 24:10
- 1 Peter 5:6-7
- 1 Peter 1:6-7
- Psalm 37:5
- Psalm 55:22