This Advent reading could also be titled “Mary’s Heart Versus our Hearts”.
Mary, Did You Know?
The song “Mary, Did You Know” came on the radio this morning. I love listening to Mark Lowry speak about this song. His ponderings are so profound.
There are many things we wonder about, and a myriad of questions we will not get answers to, until we reach Heaven. When Mary was told she would give birth to a Savior, there is no way she could have known the gruesome death that her son would experience. The political upheaval, at the time that she learned she was pregnant, might have caused Mary to initially conceptualize the Savior as a valiant warrior, who would save their nation through mighty conquests.
(Later, some of Jesus’ own disciples considered Him to be nothing more than a political leader. Judas even betrayed Jesus over this notion.)
When Mary’s belly was growing, and she was expecting to deliver the Son of God, could she have known that He would be tortured, beaten, betrayed, flogged, and killed? Perhaps she did not know that she would watch her first born suffer in His final hours on earth, before rising from the dead.
What Mary was aware of:
One thing Mary did know was that she was pregnant and unwed. She was a walking scandal. When approached by the angel, in Luke 1, she knew that being with child would be difficult for her. She would have much to explain to Joseph and her family. There would be whispers, stares, and glares. She was going to be the talk of the village- and not in a good way.
Mary would be caring for the Messiah. She was offered a great privilege, but that privilege would come with a monumental cost to her reputation.
What was Mary’s response in Luke 1:38?
- First, she declared herself to be God’s servant.
- Next, she said, “Let it be to me according to Your word.”
Would we respond like Mary?
Would that be our first response? Possibly. Perhaps we would be caught up in the moment and forget that there would be trouble waiting back home, questions to answer, and people who would be quick to shun us.
After the initial news wore off, would we begin to doubt? Would we question God’s sovereignty in our situation? Mary seemed not to falter or waver. This is in stark contrast to the way she would have been perceived by others.
Can you imagine being pregnant and telling people that it is Immaculate Conception? You would receive many nefarious stares and evil jeers. How would you handle the mockery? When people started turning on you, would you doubt God’s Word?
What are your doubts, worries, and fears?
Now, think about your modern day problems and circumstances. In what areas have you doubted God? You do not have share your secret apprehensions with anyone, but be honest with yourself.
We have all doubted, at one time or another.
God has much to say about doubt in His Word. Romans 14:23 tells us, “And he that doubteth is damned… for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” God’s Word also equates doubt and worry with pride (see 1 Peter 5:5-10). Our apprehension and mistrust are, in essence, saying to God that we know better than He does.
What areas, of life, are you stressed about now?
I love a quote of Rabbi Kirt Schneider. He said, “If you can trust God with going to heaven after death, then you can trust your life on earth to God.”
Do you have something in your life that seems impossible? The world Mary lived in was a dark and hopeless one. The Israelites were overtaxed and overburdened. Yet, Mary still maintained hope in God.
Look one verse above the scripture we just read. Mary’s response, to the angel, comes after the angel gives her a statement we should all memorize. Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Say it aloud:
We should quote those two statements back-to-back:
- Luke 1:37- “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
- Luke 1:38- “Let it be to me according to Your word.”
Jesus birth, death, and resurrection proved that nothing is impossible. Do you believe it? If He can conquer death and give you eternal life, then nothing on earth is impossible for Him.
Of course we will not see all our prayers answered exactly as we want. God is not a genie in a bottle for us to command. But, we can believe His promises. He promises to bring something good out of the bad and He promises us an eternal reward that will be far greater than any earthly pain.
Caregiver, if you are losing hope, remember Mary. Make your heart more like Mary’s heart and less like our current doubting hearts. When we come to God, we are given the title “believer”, not the title “doubter”.
In the end, do you want to stand before God as a doubter or as a believer?
A quick note-
(Before I leave you with our comment question, please know that your thoughts have helped others. I have been told that some of your comments have really inspired, and motivated others already. If you are feeling down this holiday season, please know that you are not alone. Check out the motivations section, of this blog, for prayers you can pray over yourself. And, please know that you are encouraging others every time you voice your ideas to our caregiving community.)
How about you?
What have you learned during the Advent season that has helped you trust God more? What are you learning about God during this season?