“Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:4
When Elizabeth gives this greeting to Mary I think she is contrasting Mary’s faith in the word of the Lord, to her husband’s unbelief. Before we look at the example of Mary’s faith, I want to look at why sometimes it’s hard to believe. Zacharias asked this question to the angel who appeared to him and said he and his wife were going to have a baby: “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” (Luke 1:18) This question led to this response from the angel: “You shall be unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” (Luke 1:20)
What was behind Zacharias’ unbelief? I think he didn’t want to become vulnerable again by believing, only to have his and his wife’s hopes for a baby go unfulfilled. The great disappointment of their marriage was that they hadn’t been able to have children. How many times had they prayed and believed God for a child? When they were young I bet their hopes were high and their anticipation was great. When it didn’t happen right away I can imagine they had the local rabbi pray for them, as well as anyone else who was close to them, yet in all their longing and all their praying, there was still no child. Every time they heard a baby cry they were reminded that they couldn’t have children. Every time someone else rejoiced over the news that they were pregnant, they were empty inside, even as they offered congratulations. It is easy when our prayers seem to go unanswered to assume they were not heard, and then in an act of self protection from disappointment, harden our hearts.
Let’s look at Mary’s faith. She was convinced of God’s love and mercy toward her. (Luke 1:50) She believed that God’s word was true and that it would be fulfilled even if she couldn’t understand how God would do it. (Luke 1:34) She refused to believe that God only did things in the past, but was confident He was present, powerful, and active in her day, wanting to extend His mighty arm for the humble and to fill the desperate with good things from His generous heart. (Luke 1:51; 53) She also had a tender heart that was ready to believe whatever the Lord might speak to her.
Where are you at? Have you hardened your heart because life isn’t working out the way you hoped? Maybe the Lord wants to do something wonderful for you and is waiting for you to soften your heart again.