I have finally managed to put into words the revelation I found through the story of Mary & Elizabeth. A story about women. Friendship. Security. Empowerment. Blessing. Maturity. Love.
I pray often for Harper to have good genuine friends, now and when she grows up. However, having spent time in the Bible reading up about friendship, my heart and focus shifted lately into praying that Harper would be a good friend. I would hope that we would be like Elizabeth in this story.
Mary and Elizabeth were good friends. Their sons, John and Jesus, became friends too. A dream we all have with our friends, that our kids would be as close. They walked their journeys together and saw their sons grow up, being significant in the other’s life.
One thing I have learnt about friendships is that insecurity, jealousy, comparison and selfish perspective are killers, they cause disunity and ruin what could be powerful friendships, unconditional love and significant future situations. Imagine how differently things would have turned out if Elizabeth acted out of insecurity, jealousy and comparison. Imagine if she was upset that God had not chosen her to be Jesus’s mother, especially because she was barren for so long, and Mary was not looking to be a mother at all at that point. What would have happened if John grew up always being compared to Jesus? Or he grew up watching his mother treat Mary and Jesus differently? Perhaps he would not have prepared the way nor pointed people to Jesus because he would have had a skewed view and bias about Jesus.
Elizabeth is a great model of a friend:
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. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Because Mary trusted Elizabeth and knew their friendship was secure, she was able to share her news with her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. We are blessed when we love our friends rightly.
Elizabeth encouraged and confirmed the news to her friend and spoke hope to her, rather than let it highlight what she did not have or how she was not chosen. She even went as far as feeling blessed and privileged that her friend came to her. She knew God is in charge of everything, “the mother of my LORD”. Elizabeth was able to help Mary, as she stayed with her, and therefore played a significant role in Jesus’s life in His mother’s womb, because Elizabeth was not acting out of jealousy, insecurity or comparison.
Elizabeth was able to respond and not react. She put herself in her friend’s shoes and must have known how overwhelming and vulnerable this situation could have been for her friend, so she loved her, encouraged her, spoke about hope and the promises. Most people would have reacted that Mary was a liar or crazy or have been jealous, but Elizabeth was a true friend.
Elizabeth also encouraged her friend and confirmed what the angel had said by letting her know how her baby leapt in her womb. And it encouraged Mary so much that she wrote her moment of thanksgiving and praise.
I pray that no matter what comes Harper’s way, no matter how people treat her, she would be a good friend. She would honour Jesus and hold true to His words.
“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9
I am blessed to have no-matter-what friends in my life. Friendships that are refreshing, genuine, walking and doing life together, a platform and safe spot for our vulnerabilities to be worked out. Friendships where we bear with one another in love. Friendships like Mary and Elizabeth.
God knew how much love and support Mary would need, and He chose someone who had a close and good friend He knew would love and support her. Imagine God had that much confidence in the kind of friend we are that He could overwhelmingly bless someone else.