When we read the beginning of Luke in the Bible, it can be easy to skim over the parts with John the Baptist’s parents. However, his mother, Elizabeth, is a really remarkable person. First off, when we’re introduced to Elizabeth and her husband, the Bible says, “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 1:6-7, ESV).

Elizabeth had almost certainly dealt with a lot of judgment from the community over the fact she had no children. When God miraculously gave her a child, she admitted how hard this had been, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people” (Luke 1:25).

This trial that had lasted years of her life hadn’t made her bitter, though. She’s openly described as righteous and blameless. I’m sure she struggled some days with deep disappointment or grief. Being righteous doesn’t mean we never feel sorrow or anger. It simply means always holding on to God’s love and faithful plans, even when they’re a mystery to us.

What’s more, even in the middle of her life abruptly being redirected into motherhood, Elizabeth took time to encourage a much younger woman. Much ink has been spilled on Mary’s vulnerable position as an unmarried, pregnant teenager. Rather than grill Mary with questions or judge this young woman, Elizabeth pointed her to the goodness of God. “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45).God promises beautiful things to his people, and he comes through on his word!

Elizabeth’s words must have lifted Mary’s spirits and filled her with resolve. May each one of us be the relative or friend that others turn to for encouragement or spiritual guidance. May we lift others up by reminding them of how God sees them and their trials. May we bless them with prayer and God’s Word.