Naming What Needs To Be Renewed
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
- Luke 1:5 – 7
Today we are going to learn from Elizabeth the importance of naming the things in our lives that Jesus will one day renew.
Elizabeth had a lot going for her. She had a deep and growing faith in God. Elizabeth was descended from the prominent line of Aaron. Her husband was respected and well employed. She had a roof over her head and food on her table. But Elizabeth had a persistent problem. Elizabeth was barren.
This nagging detail of her story took Luke only one sentence to record, but it captures decades of disappointment and pain. Elizabeth was advanced in years. No doubt, she had spent many nights with her husband trying to bring life into a barren womb. She had cried tears of desperation. She had whispered prayers of faith, and she had wondered why her God wasn’t answering.
Elizabeth’s pain birthed a deep longing for renewal. She ached for a day when her emptiness would be filled with life and her sorrow would be overshadowed with the laughter of a child.
Elizabeth’s pain is not unique to infertility. Her pain is central to the human story because all of us experience barrenness. Every season of suffering is a form of barrenness. Barrenness is present every time a problem is left unsolved or a faith-filled prayer goes unanswered. Illness, job loss, chronic pain, a broken family, unwanted singleness, a wayward child, the death of a friend, mental health problems and addictions are all forms of barrenness.
The miracles that surround Jesus’ first and second coming all point to the truth that God will take away our barrenness. He will renew what is broken. He will fill what is empty. He will bring to life what has died. We know this isn’t wishful thinking because 2000 years ago he took a hopeless tomb and filled it with a Risen Savior.
The renewal of all things is good news to the barren. This news is what causes a weary world to rejoice. But here is what I want you to consider today, you won’t feel the fullness of that joy until you take the time to name the things in your life that are painful, barren and broken. So today is an invitation to reflect on the things in your life that Jesus will renew when he comes again.
A Moment to Reflect
What feels barren and empty to you this Advent? What seems wrong with your world? Are there problems in your life that you are waiting for God to solve?