Imagine the deep trust shown by Mary when the angel Gabriel came to her, changing her life (and ours) forever.
“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28 NIV
Questions were certain in her mind:
Who is this? Why me?
She was deeply troubled by the greeting. Who wouldn’t be concerned by the appearance of an angel?
What does this mean?
The angel spoke again with calm assurance, removing the fear.
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30 NIV
The angel called her by name. This brought good news and relief for her troubled heart. God had a specific message for Mary, someone chosen because she found favor with God. The word favor translates from grace in New Testament Greek. Chosen and called by name, she gave her full attention to the visitor.
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of this David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will have no end.” Luke 1:31-33 NKJV
Mary doesn’t shrink back from the startling announcement. She didn’t hide or try to ignore the divine interruption.
Instead, Mary received the message, and answered with a bold question for the angel.
“How can this be?” Luke 1:34 NKJV
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth, your relative has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:35-37 NKJV
So many feelings and questions must have flooded her mind.
What? Shock, for her personal and life changing message from God.
Elizabeth? Wonder, that God is working in mysterious ways.
The messenger spoke another assurance of faith.
“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37 NKJV
Mary replied with deep trust, surrendering to receive the message and her part in God’s story of redemption.
“Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 NKJV
Mary teaches us the way of hard surrender and deep trust.
Hard surrender in accepting the fact that her life would be disrupted for a greater purpose.
Deep trust in the assurance from God, that the One who called Mary by name, will be with her in what seems to be a ridiculous message.
I pause in wonder at Mary’s faith, trust, and simple surrender.
Mary’s angelic encounter helps me as I wrestle with trust and obedience for issues in my life.
My word for 2019 is Trust, learning to trust God in deeper ways.
At the beginning of the year, Rick and I sensed God leading us to a different type of ministry. We had many questions. If he accepted the new position, we move to different city, 500 miles away.
Is this God’s plan for the next season of our lives?
How could this be? Why now?
In many ways the move didn’t make sense, starting over in a new location at the beginning of retirement. Leaving family and grandchildren. Leaving the form of ministry we had known for 45 years and accepting something new. Uprooting our lives would be difficult one so many levels.
I felt internal tension of wanting to say “no,” remaining comfortable with the routines of ministry, but also the pull of saying “yes” to God, trusting his greater plan for a new faith adventure.
Waiting, wanting to trust but unsure of taking the step of surrender.
Then, at an unsuspecting moment during worship, I heard God whisper my name.
“Nancy….Nancy….I’ve heard your cries and your prayers. I will take care of you and your family.”
At that holy moment, tears fell onto my cheeks. God spoke assurance to my worried heart. He will be with us in the uncertainties that lie ahead.
He gave me peace about the decision to move.
We will trust and remember that He is Immanuel– the “with us God.”
I don’t pretend to have it all figured out. I’m learning more about trusting God.
“For with God nothing is impossible”—a message that brings hope and assurance in the uncertainties of life.
“We walk by faith and not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV
We are called to walk with faith and trust in our daily lives.
As Advent continues, remember Mary and the conversation with the angel.
Have you heard God speak your name?
Did you receive his message?
Will you accept God’s challenge to live by faith?
May your heart be quiet enough to her the still small voice of God.