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"[Elizabeth and Zacharias] were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly" (Luke 1:6).

Elizabeth was too old to have a baby by human standards; her elderly body had long ceased to exhibit the possibility of reproduction. Elizabeth had been unable to conceive and bear a child even when she was young, while the women of her generation were easily becoming pregnant and giving birth.

Now, as a woman who had lived probably eight decades of life, there was no human possibility that becoming pregnant would ever happen to the righteous and faithful Elizabeth. There was not even a sliver of hope that Elizabeth would ever hold a biological newborn baby in her wrinkled arms!

But Elizabeth served the God who is easily able to break all of the constraints of human standards. His ways are much, much higher than our human ways and He is able to trump any limitation that we exhibit even in our days of youth and strength.

"Now Elizabeth's time had come to give birth" (Luke 1:57a).

Certainly this "time" was not Elizabeth's chosen time. Elizabeth's chosen "time" had most certainly been when she was a young woman, filled with health and vitality, but God's chosen time involved a miracle.

God has a chosen time for prayers to be answered, for His mission to be accomplished and for miracles to take place. God's "time" always takes place beyond the constraints of human existence.

Have you been praying for something for decades just as Elizabeth and Zacharias had been praying?

Do not mistakenly believe that God has forgotten you or that he has not heard your prayers. When God's appointed time comes, you will give birth to all that God has planned for you in His richness and in His fullness.

"Her neighbors and cousins heard how the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they rejoiced with her" (Luke 1:58).

Often, I believe that the Lord answers, "Wait" as an answer to our desperate prayers so that his glory is revealed rather than the certainty of mankind's function. Most women are able to conceive and bear children in their teens and 20s and even into their 30s and early 40s, but it takes the intervention of a mighty God for a woman to experience the miracle of birth when in her eighth decade of life.

Can you even imagine the rejoicing of Elizabeth's relatives and neighbors? Can you picture the scene as the women danced in circles in the village streets? Can you envision how her friends lifted their hands in praise to Yahweh?

As John nestled into his mother's arms, and as the wizened and elderly eyes of Zacharias looked into the newborn eyes of his son, God was glorified.

Prayers had been answered. Their story had just begun.

The story of Elizabeth and Zacharias is the call to live a righteous life, and it also trumpets the promise of what persevering prayer will certainly obtain. God is more than able to accomplish all that concerns you.

His part is to perform the miracles; your part is to pray without ceasing and to live a life that pleases his heart.

Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.

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