Just what did Mary say “yes” to?
As I sat in church hearing the scripture I hear every year, something different occurred to me.
Maybe it was because over the last 4 months life has taken such a toll on my family. After burying my brother and my great nephew, and enduring Katie’s brain surgery, I felt like I couldn’t take much more. Yet on December 4th, I received the phone call that my sister Sandy was being airlifted to the hospital for bleeding on her brain. She has been in ICU for almost 3 weeks now, and the sadness has been burdening my family to the point where I have to ask God, “What are you thinking here?”
So, when I heard the scripture last week about Mary saying yes to God, I thought….just what was Mary saying yes to? And did she fully understand what she was saying yes to?
Luke 1:27-33; 38
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 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 his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Mary had found favor with God. He had hand-picked her for the vocation to become mother to God. She would become a minister to so many people. Unfortunately, with that privilege, she would was also saying yes to a world of hurt, struggle, and heartbreak. Over the years, she would run for her life from Kings trying to kill her son, she would watch cautiously as others would taunt her son, she would be by Jesus’ side as he told the disciples that they would endure hardship because of him, and she would be at the foot of the cross as her son died a horrible death because people did not believe what he was preaching.
Mary’s yes was not just a happy occasion, but one of strength and courage. She was saying yes to the good and the bad. She was acknowledging to God that she was not only worthy of the task, but could do it with grace.
Most of us would be filled with fear and anxiousness.
So as I look around and wonder, where is God in my present family situation? I realize that He is right next to me. Just like He was with Mary. She was fearless and strong.
I am fearful and weak.
Where can I find the obvious grace that Mary had?
When I said “yes” to God years ago, I was acknowledging that there would be good and bad. While I didn’t realize the amount of bad there would be (for goodness sake He has entrusted me with a mountain of bad), I did recognize that life would throw me curveballs. How I handle those moments (or months which seem like a lifetime) is up to me.
I need grace.
I could turn my back on Him and run during this harsh season (and I have felt like running many days), or I could turn my face toward Him and acknowledge I cannot do this alone.
Oh God, I cannot do it alone. Trust me – I am a coward and I am struggling here.
I need courage.
I need strength.
I need grace…..and for that I need God.