The entrance of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world elicited two births that required the miraculous power of God.
Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, became pregnant long after her childbearing years had ended, and after being barren during those years. Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus, experienced the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and conceived despite the fact that she was a virgin (Luke 1). God blessed both women with holy offspring, but in different ways that speak to His working in the lives of all His trusting children.
The birth of John reveals “the patience of the saints” whereby God calls us to trust His promises that seem long beyond the bounds of time, possibility, and fulfillment. Doubtless Elisabeth had long desired a baby, and had prayed countless prayers for the end of her barrenness. Opportunity seemed to pass away with time, however, and Elisabeth passed into her later years with a broken heart. God repaired her heart by touching her womb with a newness of life that replaces barrenness with a fruitfulness of untold joy and resurrection.
We may also wait on the Lord for things we believe to be His will, but dreams fade and even seem to die as days dissolve and years pass away into an apparent oblivion of barrenness that seems beyond even the capacities of God to redeem. “How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?” (Psalm 13:2). The answer may be that we wait very long, but we shall not be disappointed if we do. “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).
With Mary, the Lord called her to believe in an impossibility that never happened before, and has not happened since. Indeed, God’s way in Mary’s experience was fresh and unique to the human mother of our Lord. “A virgin shall conceive,” foretold the prophet in the singular, and indeed, a virgin did conceive. But only one, and Mary thus experienced a personal working of the Holy Spirit that will forever grace her with the angel Gabriel’s “blessed art thou among women” affirmation (Luke 1:28).
In similar manner, every believer may rightly anticipate an “only one” experience of God’s working in our lives. As we walk with the Lord, He will work in fresh and unique ways in our personal experience. Few will see the blessedness, but we will know that the power of God has graced us with the virgin conception of a gift that only He could imagine, inspire and initiate, leading us to exult with Mary, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior!” (Luke 1:46-47).
Elisabeth experienced a miraculous resurrection of her womb. Mary knew a miraculous creation in her womb. The same Redeemer and Creator dwells among us, and let us expect both His touching of our barrenness, and His origination of our blessedness.
“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”