Luke 1:26-56 and John 19:25-27
For many years now sometime during the advent season the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus has had an impact on my life at just the right time. In the last two years, we have had two brand new grandchildren come into the family so my reflections are often imagining what Mary thought and did on that night. I thought of her “pondering what had happened in her heart.” But the Advent story has led me to another lesson – a lesson of courage – by both Mary and Joseph.
“May it be to me as you have said,” were Mary’s words. Mary willingly surrendered her life, her future, and her own dreams when she said these words. This courageous willingness to follow God – whatever he would ask of her – marked the life of Mary from the very beginning. Imagine the courage it must have required to watch her own son die on the cross.
Joseph also had a dilemma. He had it in mind, the Scripture says to not expose Mary to public disgrace, but to divorce her quietly. Then the angel appeared to him as well. In essence, God was asking Joseph to be courageous – not to be paralyzed by fear or take the easier, quiet, more comfortable way out, but to be brave and face this decision and situation God’s way so that (and Joseph did not at the time realize) he would be able to name this child, Jesus, and fulfill the prophecy regarding the lineage of David.
If someone tells you that following God is easy, don’t buy it! The Scriptures are quite clear that the opposite is true – following God is impossible in our own strength. It is only possible for those who learn to lean upon God in faith and trusting obedience.
What part do you and I play in God’s plan? Where have you come to the spot in your life where you have had to decide to be a courageous and willing servant without knowing the outcome? Like Mary and Joseph! When have we felt that we had to follow Jesus and submit to God’s leading as an invitation to transition from comfort to courage?
Do we, like Mary and Joseph reflect on the challenges we face and the impact of our decisions as courageous “May it be” decisions? Can we count the potential cost, like Mary and Joseph – rejection, ruined reputation, condemnation, but still say, “May it be” and ask ourselves, “What is God doing here?” “Where will I see him work?” How will his plan be fulfilled through my “Yes, may it be” decision?
Is God asking you to be a willing servant this season – this year – to serve the one who intervenes in our lives in unexpected ways? Is God asking you to be a faithful steward with your life without having complete understanding? We all have areas in our lives where God is prompting us to make a move from comfort to courage.
I want to be a person like Mary and Joseph. I haven’t been asked to do what they did, but I have been asked to be a steward of my energy, time and experience. I have been asked to invest myself in his bigger plan with a courage that helps me face each day with its challenges, dilemmas, heartaches, and joys.
So – thank God when you move from comfort to courage. He always shows up and leads you through whatever you face. And, celebrate and give thanks to God for the areas of your life in which you have had the courage to say, “May it be as you have said.”.
Resource :Twelve Women of the Bible, by Lysa Terkeurst. A Bible Study