We are often cautioned by the ‘powers that be’ not to ‘profile’ by some characteristic, however true, that can be interpreted as less than complimentary. In the past this was generally just, “Don’t call people derogatory names.”
Well…Gabriel did it…when he was talking to Mary and said in Luke 1:36, “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called ‘barren’…” This was considered one of the most hurtful profile labels a woman could bear in Bible times. In fact, Elizabeth’s husband, Zecharias, a temple priest, had lived so many years under this blight that he asked Gabriel to give him some proof when he was told that he and his senior wife would become parents of a special little boy. “How shall I know this? For I am an old man… (Did he forget about Abraham and Sarah’s miracle Isaac?)…and my wife is well advanced in years.” So Gabriel’s answer was a strong rebuke; “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.” This couple had prayed for a child for so many years that Zechariah’s first reaction was unbelief when God answered…ever happen to you? Gabriel went on to say, “But, behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” (What a sobering “time-out”!)
This should caution us that the One who is all powerful to change our negative profiles to joyous blessings is waiting to do His will in His time, for His glory and our rejoicing. But He often says, “Be it unto you according to your faith.” (Matt. 9:29) Truly, He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)
Elizabeth’s testimony is very revealing concerning the profile burden she had borne for so many years. She says, “Thus the Lord hath dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among the people.”
No wonder Mary went right away and spent the first trimester of her pregnancy with this woman who could counsel her wisely during the coming months. In fact, Elizabeth recognized the truth of Mary’s condition right away, when she said, (Luke 1:42-45) “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
Meditate again on Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story in Luke 1:5-25 & 39-45.