The story doesn’t start with her at all, it started with her husband. He was the Pastor of a very large denomination, someone we call the General Overseer in our day. They were an extremely righteous couple; the Bible says so; they had also been in ministry for a really long time.
Yes, a lot of women would love to be Elizabeth; if only she wasn’t barren. Not only was she barren, she was in the estimation of most, including her husband; past the child bearing age. He had resigned himself to fate, God didn’t want them to have children, they had agreed that they will pour all of themselves into the ministry; and that was exactly what they did.
It was the annual convention of the ministry and usually, the first day is dedicated to very intense praying; her husband had gone on to church, and she was home preparing the refreshments for the rest of the week; all was going fine. She was so engrossed in what she was doing that she lost track of time; when she noticed how late the hour was, she wondered why Zacharias had not returned from the prayer session. Well, maybe it got really intense as it can be sometimes, and he couldn’t stop at the appointed time. “He will be fine, he always is”.
What a shock when he finally came home and could not speak. From what she gathered from his ministers, he was in the prayer room for a really long time after everyone else was done, and by the time he came out, he couldn’t speak. He only was able to communicate with them in sign language and the only thing he told them was that he wanted to go home.
Elizabeth was distraught, to say the least. Hmmm, how will a convention hold for a week, when the General Overseer literarily lost his voice on the very first day? Who will handle his preaching and teaching slots, she wondered… but wait; “what happened in there?” Too many questions; and no answers because the only person who could answer them couldn’t speak.
Anyway, there will be plenty of time to get him to share what went wrong in that prayer room, for now she needs to call for back-up Ministers to take his slots during the convention… this is going to be tough! Everyone will want to know what happened, and once, just this once she had no response; no come-back; just a lame, ‘I really don’t know’. Hmmm!
By that evening, all the other ministers had left; I mean what can they do to help?
This is obviously not a medical condition, it is either a divine visitation or a divine punishment…hopefully; a visitation.
So they prayed one more time, and still all Zecharias could do was nod his ‘Amens’ and wave his goodbyes.
The moment the last person walked out the door; her husband whips out his memo pad.” I thought they were never going to leave”, he wrote! Seriously? Elizabeth wondered. Is that all he can say? He wrote on the pad, ‘please come and seat down, I have something really special to share with you’. By this time, Elizabeth’s heart was racing… so then it was a visitation! But to what end? What did God want? What is he about to do?
She was still asking all the questions when Zacharias lifts his head from the table where he bent over scribbling on his note pad and hands her three sentences:
I was visited by the Angel Gabriel today as I prayed and burned incense.
He says God has heard my prayers and is set to answer.
You are going to conceive and have a special son.
Elizabeth screamed and jumped; knocking over the crockery on the dining table; her maidservants rushed in to ask what the matter was…Zacharias hastily waves at them to leave that everything was fine.
Then he scribbled on the pad again, “Elizabeth, please don’t say anything to anyone. It was because I questioned the Angel on the possibility of his message that he told me I will not speak until the child is born.”
With both hands now over her mouth, Elizabeth closed her eyes… is she really going to finally conceive? At sixty years of age? Where is the strength to carry a baby to term now? Did Zacharias say special son? What does the angel mean by special son? Is he the Messiah? No it was said that a virgin will have the Messiah, so if not the Messiah; who then? What is the destiny of this child going to be?
Wait…how is she going to go to church and about town, pregnant at this age? Most people don’t even think she is supposed to still have sex. Hmmm, how does one deal with this? Then she remembers; it is only a promise… let us wait and see if it will really happen, she concluded. As for this week, she still has a Convention to see to, especially now that her husband cannot speak.
Two months later, Elizabeth finally agrees that she is pregnant! Pregnant at sixty! This is how the Lord has dealt with me, she says… he has deemed it fit to bless me and take away my reproach from amongst men.
This is great news, but it is also almost shameful… Elizabeth hid herself.
I always thought that she hid herself because she was not sure how to present herself as pregnant at that age; but then it dawned on me that she also hid herself because; she was not sure the pregnancy might hold till the end of its term. After all, remember she had never been pregnant before and she is sixty years old now. How many sixty year olds have children at that age?
Well, so Elizabeth hid herself for five months. When we read this scripture, we gloss over and move on to the next verse like it is a normal occurrence for people to hide themselves that long. But when we think about it; it is not! Elizabeth will first have to explain to her domestic staff and close relatives. They may even need to explain to church leaders why she had to be away for so long.
If it was today, it will be easier for her to buy a ticket and travel to another country where no one knows her. Even in that day, it was what Mary did, remember?
Then Mary came to visit, and the Bible records that the moment Elizabeth heard her voice, the baby in her womb leaped and immediately the Holy Ghost came upon Elizabeth and she started to speak Spirit inspired words. She immediately recognised that Mary was the mother of the messiah. How cool is that? Elizabeth, without prior warning, knew that there was something different and special about the Mary who showed up at her house unannounced.
Maybe you have been going around asking God to connect you with those women who he has ordained to help birth your destiny and transact you into greatness. Maybe, you have been waiting for that one miracle connection that will make everything alright and will bring clarity to all that your life is about.
Just like Elizabeth was Mary’s destiny connector and co-traveller, so God has positioned us for some and others for us. The key is an ability to recognise our transaction partners when we see them.
What leapt inside of Elizabeth was the child she carried. The child in the spirit recognised that greatness just walked through the door and that fact was not lost on Elizabeth. Your destiny is the child that you carry today, and when you find your Co- labourer you are bound to know. The baby in your womb should leap.
Yes, I know you are not physically pregnant, but the hope in your heart to be able to make it is bound to light up. You are bound to feel like you know this person and you are bound to immediately know that there is something that connects you. When the hope in your heart connects to the hope in another woman’s heart; what do you do?
Remember Elizabeth was in hiding? Why would she let Mary in, when she was doing her best to stay away from everyone? What was the guaranty that Mary will not be a bad connection at this point? How did Elizabeth know that as she opens up to Mary, she will not take advantage of the situation, and just what did Mary have that could make Elizabeth’s journey easier?
Questions applicable to Elizabeth and questions applicable to you and me! The fears are real; what if it boomerangs? What if… when we are transacting for destinies, things can never be crystal clear, we will have to sometimes go out on a limb and trust that God has our backs. What was the reason Elizabeth was the best thing for Mary? Elizabeth knows what it feels like to be pregnant out of season; Elizabeth, because of her age, was certainly better able to handle the pressure and could teach Mary how to do that too.
In the end, they were good for each other, the destinies they both carried were not only birthed but fulfilled. John went on to walk in an anointing so great that Elizabeth would have been very proud she waited that long to have him. Of course, Jesus, the child Mary carried, was the Messiah and went on to die for the world and to save us all. Both of them died gruesome deaths and I have a feeling Mary was there for Elizabeth, when it happened to John and vice versa.
Destinies are intertwined; and Elizabeth and Mary’s definitely were intertwined for all eternity. Even today, your destiny is somehow intertwined with that of another.
Will you recognise her if she walks through your doors? If you do, will you receive her gladly? And how long do you intend to transact on her behalf?
Awesome how this woman whose entire life story is captured in one chapter of scripture transacted so powerfully! May your testimony not be different in Jesus name.