Anticipation

After gaining some insight into what had happened to her husband, Elizabeth wants to believe she could give birth to a son. With a spouse who can’t talk and can’t hear, can she get the answers she needs, or will she be left in fear and doubt, questioning God’s plan?

Yesterday, Elizabeth had felt so young, so alive, but now she had to face reality. At her age, the promise of a son was a complete absurdity. How was this possible?
Her husband’s inability to speak or hear could be signs of old age. Had he really seen an angel, or could he have a demon? Perhaps his desire for a son had driven him to strange imaginations. He seemed to be living in another world.
What reason could God have for choosing them as parents instead of somebody younger? Yes, they were older and wiser, but that was a role for grandparents. Were they physically able to care for a child? The scribbles on Zechariah’s tablet did little to answer her concerns, but if she wasn’t pregnant, the words didn’t matter.
As the days passed, she thought she felt different. Was this a real change in her body, or was it because she wanted to believe she was pregnant? The nausea wasn’t her imagination, but that didn’t prove anything. She had been nauseated before. But on the first day she felt movement within her belly, she knew for sure.
She sat facing Zechariah like they had learned to do when they wanted to communicate. First, she gripped his hands, hoping her touch would tell him this was a special moment. Then she used her hands to form a circle around her belly, pointed there, and nodded.
Zechariah leaped and waved his arms. His mouth opened in a shout—except no sound came out. He grabbed her around the waist and danced as if this were a wedding celebration. His look was one of boundless joy and a sense of reassurance, apparently saying, Now we know for sure. Everything the angel said is true. Every word will come to pass.
Elizabeth smiled and laughed, sharing his joy. She was going to have a baby. Her announcement and seeing Zechariah’s response thrilled her beyond words. Who would have believed it possible? No one in this neighborhood.
What would her baby sister think? She should have Zechariah write a message to be delivered to Anna in Nazareth. She would be so excited.
Elizabeth hesitated, having forgotten how old she and her sister were.
Anna had grown children of her own. For her to believe Elizabeth could have a child, they would have to meet face-to-face, but that was not possible.
What if something went wrong? At Elizabeth’s age, that was likely. No, the letter would have to wait until after the child was born.
Letter or no letter, the fact remained: she was pregnant, and that would soon become obvious to her friends, young and old. They would know from what they saw. She wouldn’t have to tell them.
As the weeks passed, Elizabeth secluded herself except for daily trips to draw water from the well.
When she heard the whispering, she knew her secret had become known. No doubt, the news would rapidly spread throughout the village.
“Can you believe it?” one woman whispered, evidently thinking Elizabeth couldn’t overhear. “She’s with child. At her age.”
Elizabeth only smiled, but she wanted to laugh.
Through all these years of condemnation, they had thought her barrenness was evidence of God’s disfavor. She turned away before they could see her expression.
After John was born, they would wish they had kept silent. No longer could they say she or the priest had done something to deserve God’s judgment.
They had no idea how wrong they were. Not only would she have a son, but according to the angel, he would become a great leader, with the spirit and power of Elijah, bringing people to repentance, turning the heart of Israel back to God.
She wanted to tell her close friends, but how could she? No one would believe her. People liked to imagine angels as a religious reality, not a physical one. Zechariah talking to one would probably bring laughter and ridicule. But when they saw her baby, they would have to accept the evidence of God’s grace, wouldn’t they?
What would she tell the women if she had a daughter, not a son? Keeping quiet about God’s promise was the best approach. Definitely the safest. She might have complications in child birth. Either she or the baby might die. Such were the realities of life, especially at her age.
God had a plan, she was sure of that, but until the promise actually came to pass, who could say whether she fully understood the message? Some promises were conditional. God said he would destroy Nineveh, but he didn’t do it. He said David’s throne would be established forever, but that didn’t happen.
Her dreams were wonderful, but she wasn’t sure how real they were. Her hope might or might not be fulfilled in the way she expected. She needed to be patient as the infant grew within her. God’s plan would unfold according to his will, not hers.
Zechariah seemed to believe the promise completely, but he was the one who had seen the angel. What more did he have to do but work silently in the field and pray?
She was the one who would give birth. For his sake, she prayed for a male child, not a daughter.
Every day, the house was understandably quiet. When Zechariah was home, the only sounds came when he scratched on his tablet. He prayed more than she had ever seen him do before. His lips moved, but she could never make out what he was saying. At times, his face was aglow with anticipation.
“What is it?” she said.
The promise, he wrote. God’s plan.
It was always about the plan. As more weeks passed, his confidence in God became even more obvious.
And Elizabeth became more obviously pregnant.
“How can you be so sure?” she said, looking for a reason for God’s favor now, when it had not come earlier.
Zechariah wrote, God cannot lie. Angel said all fulfilled in due time.
The due time. Yes, that would establish the truth of God’s word, wouldn’t it? The day she gave birth, she would know so much more.
With each movement of life within her, with each gesture from a husband marking on his tablet, she became more aware that he must be right. God did have a plan to make this child special.
With grateful heart, she said, “This is the Lord’s doing. In these last days, he has shown his favor and has taken away my disgrace.”

A six-week chronological study of the life of Christ covering the period from the beginning to Jesus at age twelve. In each session’s stories, the “speculative realism” storytelling style retains the biblical and historical information, yet gives you the kind of captivating experience you’d find in a bestselling novel. Follow the emotional journeys of many eyewitnesses. Walk with them through their struggles. Feel the pain of their worries. And share the joy of their victories.