“When You Need a Helping Hand”
“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.”
Luke 1:39-40 (NIV)
God is the world’s greatest matchmaker. I’m not talking about the kind of romantic matches made online, but rather about connections made between women in need and those who can help.
As I grew older in years and in my faith, God consistently placed women in my path who modeled all kinds of things I needed to know. My mom taught me about keeping a home that’s peaceful and full of love. In my teen years, a young woman named Layne showed me what it looked like to cultivate a pure heart.
Later, Deborah lived out being a loving wife even though she never knew I was watching. Macon taught me about mothering small children, and Mona was an example of how to use my words wisely.
Each woman had something to share with me that I needed in order to grow.
Christmas is approaching, and in Luke 1, one of our familiar Christmas passages, God gives us a beautiful picture of what it looks like when He gives the gift of friendship to help us in difficult situations. He joins together a young woman, Mary, with an older woman, Elizabeth, and encourages both of them in the linking. If we’ll zoom in a little, there are some important lessons for us.
1. Mary sought out a woman to help her.
When I slowed my reading of today’s key verses, they left me with lots of questions. Why did Mary need to pack up and leave home to go see Elizabeth? Where was her mother? Her friends?
No matter the answers, one fact is clear. Mary needed a woman with whom she could connect. In fact, Scripture tells us she hurried there!
We live in a lonely culture where 60% of women say they’re lonely and 20% say they’re lonely all the time. Mary gives us an example to follow when we fall into the loneliness pit. She didn’t sit at home and wish someone were there. She didn’t “vague-book” something on social media to manipulate someone to reach out. She packed up and went to spend face-to-face time with Elizabeth.
Mary was blessed with a close connection because of her initiation.
2. Elizabeth chose to connect, rather than to compete.
When we think through the circumstances, Elizabeth could have gotten her feelings hurt. After all, Mary made an unannounced visit and she was carrying the Messiah, the hope of the whole world, in her womb.
Because she was already married and her husband was a priest, Elizabeth held a superior social ranking. Elizabeth could have compared herself to Mary and felt resentment. She could have thought, “Who is she to be carrying the Messiah instead of me?” Instead, she instantly poured out blessing and affirmation to her cousin Mary, a young, pregnant girl trembling with the implications of her amazing assignment.
3. Joy was the result of their connection.
The remaining description of Mary and Elizabeth’s interaction in Luke 1 is a more beautiful scene than I can even imagine. It’s filled with loud declarations of blessing, Spirit-filled babies leaping with joy, and a song so exquisite that it’s nicknamed “The Magnificat.”
The outcome of these women’s connection was great joy. Not only were they happy in the moment, but they were forever enriched by the match that God had made between the two of them. God calls us to connect so we can mature. Mary was supported, and Elizabeth had a chance to share her maturity and support. That same joy can be in store for you and me!
Lord, I praise You that I was made for connection. Help me reach out for help when I need it and to offer it to others when I’m able. Please make me more like You as I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 6:1, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (NIV)