Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Joy in the Lord

By: Rebekah Hargraves

"Restore the joy of your salvation to me," ~Psalm 51:12a

Photo courtesy of: Preslie Hirsch

We have been preparing our hearts the past two weeks for the upcoming Advent season. Today, we come to a brief study of the theme of the third week of Advent - joy. I love to remember Elizabeth's story during this time of the year.

"To take away my reproach among people…."

Those are haunting, sobering words spoken by a woman who had been told all her life that her worth could only come from bearing children—in particular, sons. These are words uttered from the lips of a woman who consistently proved incapable of fulfilling this expectation. And now all hope seems to be lost. She is, after all, well into old age now. 

But with our great God all things are possible, amen? 

In Abraham and Sarah style, the angel of the Lord speaks to Elizabeth’s husband, Zacharias, letting him know that the Lord has heard their fervent prayers, and Elizabeth will indeed conceive and bear a son. 

At last! After many years of prayer, hoping, wishing, despairing— disappointment and reproach brought about by the words and looks of many, now Zacharias and Elizabeth will have the joy of a son—a son who will do amazing things for the Kingdom of God. This son will prove to be the fulfillment of long-awaited prophecies, even heralding in the Messiah, Himself.

The truth is that Elizabeth was always present in the mind of her Creator. He had never forgotten about her. He had never ridiculed, reproached, or belittled her for her lack of a child. No. Far from it. His heart was moved each and every month as Elizabeth faced the realization that yet another month was going by without a baby having been conceived within her. His heart broke every time Elizabeth was made to feel as if her worth were contingent upon bearing a child, rather than based on the sure, firm, unconditional foundation of who she was as a child of the Most High God. 

The reality is that our God’s heart has always been toward the outcast, the marginalized, the mistreated, the lost, the hurting, sorrowful, and the stranger.  And His heart is towards you.

This Advent, look to Him, abide in Him, meditate on the good news of His gospel, and discover in His Word what He says about you and His heart for you. If you truly grasp down deep in your toes the infiniteness of His love for you, you will never feel lonely and cast aside the same way again. He is for the hurting, friend. And He is for you. Take joy!

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