When we think of love and romance, we tend to think of young love, fresh and new, full of possibilities. But young love doesn’t hold a candle to mature love, the relationships that have endured for decades and grow sweeter with time. Thus is the case with today’s All God’s Women Love Lessons episode on Elizabeth and her husband Zacharias.
Elizabeth’s Love Story
Elizabeth was the daughter of a priest as well as the wife of a priest. Luke 1:6-7 tells us that both Elizabeth and her husband Zacharias were “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and orders of the Lord, blameless. But they had no child because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.” (NKJV)
Then, just when they thought they were nearing the end of their days, God surprised them with an unexpected announcement. While Zacharias performed his priestly duty of burning incense, the angel Gabriel appeared to him, telling him that Elizabeth would bear a son who would prepare the people for the coming Christ.
As you can imagine, Zacharias didn’t know what to think. He questioned the angel, asking how he would know this since Elizabeth was barren, and both of them were old. Because of his unbelief, Gabriel struck him mute until the baby was born, and they had named him John.
Sure enough, Zacharias lost his ability to speak, but he went home and he slept with his wife. And sure enough, she conceived and hid herself for five months, reveling that God had taken away her reproach among people.
At the appointed time, Elizabeth gave birth to their son. When word reached their family and neighbors, they all rejoiced in God’s show of mercy to her.
On the eighth day when they took the baby to be circumcised. The custom was to name the child after his father, but Elizabeth said that no, the baby would be called John. This made no sense. There was no one in the family by that name. So they asked Zacharias what to do. He asked for a writing tablet, and on it he wrote, “His name is John”. And immediately, he could speak again. The first thing he did was to praise God, filling everyone with fear, wondering what kind of child this would be.
Though Elizabeth and Zacharias were righteous, observing the commandments, and living a blameless life, it didn’t prevent them from facing hardships.
A life in ministry is never easy. The pressure to do right, feeling like everyone is looking to you and expecting sometimes more than you can give. Feeling each failure magnified.
In their day, children were a gift from God. To be barren was perceived as punishment from the Lord for sins that were committed. We know from Elizabeth’s statement in Luke 1:25 that she felt reproach from others who assumed her guilt even though she was innocent.
Anyone who has dealt with infertility knows the strain it puts on a marriage. Elizabeth and Zacharias began their marriage full of hope for a quiver full of little ones. As the years passed and they remained childless, I’m sure they each got frustrated and at times could have taken it out on the other.
As the years turned into decades and still no pitter patter of little feet, they each dealt with the disappointment, the unfulfilled dreams, the feelings of failure.
Then, when God surprised them with the unexpected conception, Zacharias couldn’t speak. He could only write. How they must have longed to pour out their souls to each other to this amazing time in their lives, only they couldn’t.
Even naming their son John was a struggle. Why did God instruct them to give him that name? We don’t know. But He was intentional about it, and Elizabeth and Zacharias were obedient. But no one else understood their decision. They faced resistance and misunderstandings.
Despite their life struggles, Elizabeth and Zacharias kept their faith in God and their love for each other. As the years passed, their love grew stronger. Though they may have felt rejected by others, they had each other, and for that, they were grateful.
I keep going back to Luke 1:6. Both Elizabeth and Zacharias were “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and orders of the Lord, blameless.” Can you imagine a more glowing recommendation? Whatever their situation, they did the right thing.
I love what Gabriel says to Zacharias in verse 13. “Do no be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son…” (NKJV)
Even though they were both long past childbearing age, Zacharias and Elizabeth didn’t completely lose hope. They continued to pray for a son, even though, by this point, it appeared to be a hopeless situation.
And when the angel told Zacharias Elizabeth would bear a son, what did Zacharias do? He went home and did what he could to make it happen. How they must have laughed, thinking that God could take two old and worn out bodies and produce a child, but they acted in faith, and He rewarded them.
God knew that it would take a special couple to produce and raise the forerunner to Jesus. He saw in Elizabeth and Zacharias wisdom, maturity, and a faith that could withstand life’s struggles. He knew that they would not likely live to see John to adulthood, but that they would provide a spiritual foundation that would prepare him for his mission from God.
Elizabeth’s Secrets for Romance
Elizabeth knew the secrets of a successful marriage. She knew that to make it through the strife that every couple endures, you have to be in it for the long haul.
Couples start off marriage starry-eyed, expecting a fairy tale future. When trials hit, they’re often thrown off course. Rather than drawing together to support each other during the trials, couples drift apart, blaming each other for the troubles.
Elizabeth knew that true loves develops over time rather than diminishing. Yes, it takes work, a lot of work, but oh, the beauty of walking side by side with the same person decade after decade. Nothing else compares.
I’m sure during those months that Mary spent with Elizabeth and Zacharias that Elizabeth poured into her advice for a successful marriage. She likely warned her of how easy it is to attack rather than attach. She probably pointed out scriptures about enduring love, encouraging Mary to give selflessly without expectation. I can only imagine the time they spent on their knees praying for the husbands and asking for wisdom in the days ahead.
Your Love Story
Wherever you are in your love story, today is the day to get it right.
You may be a young bride full of exciting expectations, and that’s great. Enjoy the delights of youthful romance. But know that when the romance dims and your days turn dark, that those times will strengthen your marriage. With each trial or struggle that you go through, God will use it to bind you together. Be ready and rejoice when difficult times come because the joy that is waiting on the other side is worth it.
Perhaps you’re in a season of life where you’ve drifted. You’re busy raising children. Your husband is preoccupied with work. You feel like you’re living with a stranger. It’s hard, but chances are, your husband is feeling just as alone as you are. Take time to spend together. Get away by yourselves. Find opportunities to relax, laugh, and talk. Keep communication fluid so you don’t lose touch with each other in the busy-ness of your lives.
Maybe you’re in a mature relationship like Elizabeth and Zacharias, only instead of growing closer, you’ve drifted apart. You look back to those days when you were inseparable and wonder if you’re too far gone. No, it’s not too late to rekindle the romance. Take a walk down memory lane. What was it that drew you together? What made you fall in love in the first place? Then make a list of all the things you love about your husband. It may be hard at first since you’ve grown to take him for granted. But as you start writing, the list will quickly grow.
Whatever your situation, take this day to show your love and appreciation for your husband. He’s not perfect, but neither are you. Focus on being the best wife you can be. Appreciate the blessing of your relationship. Be thankful for the time you’ve had together and look forward to the future you have before you.
Lord God, thank You for the gift of marriage. Thank You for allowing us to go through life with someone by our side. Forgive us those times we lose sight of our love and find fault rather than forgiveness. Help us to grow as wives, developing into the women you designed us to be. Use each situation we go through as a couple to strengthen our relationship. Be with those couples who are dealing with infertility. Remind them that they are not cursed, and that You hear their prayers. For those couples who have drifted, draw them near. Bless us with a mature marriage that lasts until death separates us. Thank You. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Tune in next week when we continue in our Love and Romance series. We’ll be looking at Abigail, a godly woman married to an ungodly man.
Bible Study Review
- What does the Bible tell us about Elizabeth’s character?
- What was Elizabeth’s struggle?
- How did God bless Elizabeth?
Thoughts to Ponder
- What kind of marriage did Elizabeth and Zacharias have?
- How did each of them respond to finding out they were going to have a child?
- How were they in harmony?
- How well do you and your husband get along when facing trials?
- Do you support each other?
- Do you grow closer as the years go by?
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