“Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.” (Luke 1:56, NIV84)
So, it appears that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for the remainder of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and left just before John was born. Mary, finishing her first trimester, went back home. Back to reality. Have you ever been on a mission trip? Or an amazing spiritual retreat? I’m talking about those times when your spiritual life couldn’t be any clearer and you feel closer to God than you ever have in your life. It’s like a mountaintop experience. It’s at those times that we can relate to Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration when he said to Jesus, “It is good to be here! Let’s build three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Peter loved the state he was in so much that he didn’t want to leave. Who could blame him? Mary had been living an amazing experience. She had the archangel Gabriel come and share the Message that God was going to use her in a very big way. She went to see Elizabeth and found that what Gabriel said about Elizabeth was true, too. She, in her old age, was going to have a son. Mary probably got to learn a little about Zechariah’s visit with the same angel, even though he could not speak. But now it was time to go home. She had been gone for 3 months, she was pregnant, and she had to face the the reality of Joseph and her hometown.
Have you ever been there? Can you relate to what she was going through? All you want to do is stay in the experience you’re in, but now you have to face the uncertainty of the future. What a contrast! Nothing could be more certain than the experience on the mountaintop. Now nothing was certain. As she entered her own town, having been gone for 3 months and being 3 months pregnant, she now faced another reality — the reality of this world. What can we do in situations like this? Exactly what Mary did. We live according to the mountaintop experience. We let the truth of that experience be our motivation and our guide. We trust that God will work out the details as He sees fit. And that is exactly what He did for Mary. God made things happen so that Mary’s path might meet its destination. During her time of uncertainty she clung to the only thing that was certain: her God and His promises.
Are you living on a mountaintop today? If so, enjoy its glory and certainty. And when you come down from the mountain (which you will) and enter the “real” world, remember the certainty of your experience and allow its truth to guide and govern your path, too.