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Unpack Those Bags

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)

“Pack your bags, sister. Your best days are behind you.” 

Have you ever struggled with negative mind-chatter like the phrase above? I have. As I’ve tip-toed over the threshold into my golden years, I’ve questioned my usefulness—to my family, my church, and society at large. (Hello out there! Does anyone have use for an old gal like me, or is there an expiration date stamped on my forehead?) 

At times, self-doubts related to my age and health cause me to freeze up. I don’t make myself available to others as easily as I used to. I wonder if the younger ones will roll their eyes and whisper, “It’s that old lady again, trying to weasel her way in. Would someone please tell her that she’s no longer needed or wanted?”  

No doubt Elizabeth felt the same way. 

Though she had enjoyed many wonderful years of marriage to the priest Zechariah, Elizabeth was now well past her childbearing years. Oh, she was a woman of faith, a dedicated and faithful woman who came from a priestly line, herself. But with no child to show from the union with Zechariah, she no doubt felt useless and ostracized by society. Elizabeth heard the whispers. She saw the stares from the young mothers as they nursed their babes and tended to their little ones at play. 

I can’t even imagine the shock (Delight? Disbelief? Confusion?) the elderly Elizabeth must have felt when she received the news that she would deliver a son. Finally, after all of these years!

And what a son he was! John the Baptist would prepare the way for the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Through his birth, Elizabeth received the promise of 1 Peter 5: 6-7, even before the words were penned: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was Elizabeth’s cousin. She came for a visit not long after receiving her big news. What a fascinating few months these must have been, as the elderly Elizabeth and her teenage cousin, Mary, went through their pregnancies together. These two vastly different women suddenly had everything in common. I can only imagine the conversations they must have had! (And talk about cravings! Pickled herring, anyone?) 

Picture yourself in Elizabeth’s shoes.

Maybe you’ve felt overlooked, left out, past your prime. Or maybe you’re like Mary, feeling a little too young to tackle the problems life has thrown your way. 

Here’s the good news: God can and will use you, as long as you submit yourself to Him and wait patiently for the fulfillment of His promises. 

Together, Mary and Elizabeth embodied the rock-solid truth found in Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)

He will work them for good in your life, too. So don’t pack those bags quite yet, sweet woman of God. He’s got plenty of good road ahead for you. 

Application Question: Have you ever used your age as an excuse not to step out in faith? 

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