My New Testament superheroes of faith!
Elizabeth – (Luke 1) Luke tells us that both she and her husband, Zechariah, were very old, and that they were faithful, obedient and righteous in the eyes of God. Still, even though children are a reward from the Lord (Psalm 127:3), they had none. I can guarantee you that Elizabeth, once or twice in her life, begged the Lord to tell her what she’d done wrong to deserve a barren womb, a terrible stigma in her culture. Of course, the answer is that she’d done nothing wrong. God even says she’d been careful to obey. So, with no apparent reason, she waited. At what age, I wonder, did she stop hoping? The promise of their son didn’t come until she was already old. It wasn’t something she’d been promised early in life. She spent most of her days not knowing that it would ever happen. Oh, man. Put yourself in her sandals. Even if it is not a child you’ve longed for, think of that something really, really important, the deepest desire of your heart, and imagine what it feels like to live with no assurance it will ever come to pass. Heartbreaking. Yet, God had a plan, a really, really important one. Z&E indeed have a son – John the Baptist! The timing of his birth was tied directly to the cosmic plan of salvation for the entire human race. How special! What proof that God knows us before we are knitted together in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16). Worth waiting for? I’d say.
Anna – (Luke 2:36-38) Little is said of her, but I believe the depths of her significance fathomless. She was the very old prophet at the temple where Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to be dedicated. She’d been widowed after only seven years of marriage, probably a good 70 years before we hear of her in Luke. Like the entire nation of Israel, she’d been waiting for the Messiah, their Deliverer, their (and our) only hope. Because she had devoted herself to God, spent her life fasting and praying (not moping or mourning her plight), she recognized Him even as a child and experienced glorious fulfillment in her life.
Mary and Martha (John 11:1-44)– Honestly, if I’d been one of Lazarus’ sisters, I’d be mad. No, irate. Knowing the friendship between their brother and Jesus, 100% believing Jesus more than capable to heal him, they sent a message, in plenty of time. By all indicators, everything should have turned out fine. And yet, Jesus delays, Lazarus dies, and the ladies are left grieving, questioning, hurting. They did not have the benefit of hearing Jesus tell his disciples that “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” (vs.4)[Italics added] All Mary and Martha knew is that their Messiah had not shown up. Hope wasn’t just absent, it’d been pulverized. Did either of them hold out hope that the man they’d seen work miracles had something bigger and better in store? Whether they did or not, Jesus does show up, and He raises Lazarus from the dead. Uh… way cooler than a silly healing. God’s timing proved perfect as well as significant.
Woman with the Issue of Blood – (Matt 9:20-22) Bless her poor, dear heart, twelve years of constant bleeding. That’s a long time. I have to believe that she held out hope for healing because she’d been consulting doctors and submitting to all probable solutions. Desperation can crush hope, but it also can spur it. After all that waiting, and being prodded and poked and experimented on, and when her hope perhaps had been fraying, Jesus comes to town. Hope resurges. What else could have emboldened her to touch His robe secretly? Jesus points her out anyway to champion her faith. She received two precious, priceless gifts that day!
The Bride of Christ – In a sense, we are all “ladies in waiting” if we have been born again into the family of God (meaning, we have accepted and depend on Jesus’ blood sacrifice/death as atonement for our sins, turned from wrong-doing and committed to following His Word). We wait for the hope that is ours as followers of Jesus, the wedding of the Lamb (that’s Jesus) and His bride, the Church (that’s us). Right now, Jesus is in Heaven preparing our eternal home, just like a bridegroom prepares a place to live with his bride, and He’s promised to come back to get us when it’s ready. So we wait, but not with twiddling thumbs. We have preparations of our own to make. (Isa. 61:10 , Rev. 19:6-8) All He asks is that He find us ready, clothed in the righteousness that He’s given us to wear. Another way to look at it is found in Mathew 25:1-13.
Our hope is sure because it is a promise that God made, and He cannot lie.
I know it will be well worth the wait!
Which New Testamenters inspire YOU?
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