If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. (Lk. 1:47)
Mary meets her cousin, Elizabeth. Both miraculously with child. Both righteous women. Both misunderstood by their neighbors. When the angel told Mary that her relative, Elizabeth, had conceived a son in her old age (v. 36), she quickly went to visit her. The angel’s words, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (v. 37) reverberating in her mind and heart. Mary’s journey to Elizabeth was a difficult one. She trudged through the hill country and dangerous forests, dense with trees, fierce wildlife, and savage felons. Certainly, she arrived at her cousin’s place exhausted, mind swarming with questions, looking forward to an invaluable visit. She had left her family and friends behind, giving them opportunity to question, to murmur, to gossip about her relationship with Joseph. There were important conversations to be had with her cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zacharias, a righteous man, walking in all the commandments, blameless before God (v. 6). When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (v. 42). At this greeting, relief and joy surged through Mary. Her love for God burst forth in a torrent of sacred praise for her God and Savior, source of her strength and joy. These two women met in perfect fellowship. Both experiencing unusual events in their bodies, neither fully understanding what was happening. Both eager to tell of God’s blessings, His miracles, His love.
When we meet with other believers, we would do well to model the meeting of these women. To encourage one another in the Lord, turning our hearts toward heaven, praising God our Savior, regardless of the uncertain circumstances in which we live. When we do, our fellowship becomes not only pleasant but profitable. Our gatherings find purpose as we advance the kingdom of heaven in our own hearts and those with whom we fellowship. We find joy when we comfort one another in word and in deed, when we rejoice in God our Savior. We find strength in sharing our testimonies. We can rejoice because we love.
Who will you meet today? If a believer, would you be willing to take up the challenge to enjoy a sweet fellowship, praising God your Savior, exhorting one another, sharing testimony? Remember, with God nothing will be impossible. How have you seen His redeeming hand, His Saving hand, in your life? Let your song this day be “My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou; if ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.”