My soul magnifies the Lord. Luke 1:46
Words of faith do not originate from a vacuum. What spills out during the times when I am stretched to my limit reflects the kind of faith I have cultivated previously. A well known bible teacher said, “Who I am when hard times hit is really who I am.” True! The words I speak during my most painful moments are mirrors that reflect the foundation of my life.
Hannah endured the scourge of barrenness. When she was finally touched by the divine hand of God, she delivered a famous discourse that spanned a dozen verses. It is one of the most prophetic passages in all of scripture. Elizabeth also suffered the heartache of being childless yet through it, she also cultivated her faith. She learned the Word of God, built the precepts of it into the fabric of her life, and when God visited her with a child in her old age, she also rose to prophesy.
Eloquence is not just confined to adults either. Mary was merely a teenager when she was visited by an angel. Given a task that would have crushed most grownups, she rose up to deliver the famous Magnificat. The fact that such words could flow from a twelve year old is astounding. She didn’t speak shallow words of praise. She reviewed God’s history, the ‘ways of God’ that could only be known by one who immersed herself in the stories of her ancestors.
Human nature wants to coast during the good times, only drawing close to God when the fires of adversity get hot. God is gracious and will certainly answer us whenever we cry out for help but there is a better way. I can fortify my heart today. If feeding my spirit is a priority, I create a storehouse of spiritual food that will serve me well when there’s a famine. When everything appears to have fallen apart, I will not hear patterns of hopeless and fearful words come out of my mouth. Ultimately, I’ll hear the language of faith.
Have I painted a picture that fails to embrace my own humanity? No. I’m not naive enough to believe that each of our spiritual heroes failed to have low moments. Hannah wailed in the temple and was so distraught that the priest accused her of being drunk. I’m also confident that Elizabeth wept her way through the scourge of barrenness. A lifetime of longing unearths pretty strong emotions. And Mary? We’re not given a lot of details but I can’t believe that she didn’t worry about abandonment, and about being hauled before the elders to face harsh punishment. I need to remember that there is no judgement against, what Job calls, ‘words for the wind.’ Each of us utter feeling statements when the fires are hot. “This will never work out!” “I’m headed for ruin.” “I’m so angry, I could kill him.” “I can never forgive this.” What proves or disproves our faith is what happens after our knee-jerk reactions. Will we embark on a lifestyle characterized by fear and unbelief or will we engage in some rugged introspection to place our feet, once again, on the Rock of Ages.
Lord, I walk in the shoes of Hannah, of Elizabeth, and of Mary. I may have my low moments but You raise me up to do what I was created to do ~ love You, worship You, and praise You. Bless every righteous seed planted in my spirit. Amen