As I was thinking about who I should highlight this month, I kept coming back to Mary because each year during the Christmas season we hear the story of how an angel of the Lord appeared to a girl and proclaimed that she would give birth to a son even though she was virgin. Here’s where I find Mary to be Stunningly Strong; she said YES. We only read about HER encounter with the angel, but I wonder, were there others who were approached first?
I think about that a lot. God gave us all a free will and He will not bend our will to fit His plan because that would not be love, that would be dictatorship, and I find it hard to believe that a Heavenly Father who loved us enough to send His son to die for us would dictate who was going to be His son’s mother.
So, was Mary the only one the angel appeared to? Maybe. But I’m going to put a spin on it and say maybe not. Perhaps, there were other virgin girls betrothed to other Jewish men who found favor in God’s sight and were asked to take on this horribly complicated, messy, scandalous task. Perhaps, when the shock of seeing an angel of the Lord standing in front of them wore off, and the reality of what he was asking them sank in, they said “No thank you”, “I can’t do it”, “Surely there is someone else”.
The way I read the story in my head, Mary doesn’t pause for one second after she hears the words in Luke 1:37 “For nothing is impossible with God.” She immediately puts aside the question she asked earlier about how this could happen and her fear (Mary was greatly troubled Luke 1:29) was sat aside long enough for her to respond “Let it be.”
Mary’s words “Let it be unto me” were spoken in spite of her fear and her questions. She proverbially jumped off a cliff with a blind belief that the Heavenly Father would catch her before she hit the ground. She did it scared, she did it willingly and that’s what makes her Stunningly Strong.
I want to encourage all of you to take the leap that God is asking you to take in 2019. I’m talking to myself as well. There is a plan for our lives. We have a purpose, and sometimes, when we say there is not a plan or a purpose or something greater for us, it’s because we know what it means if we say YES to what God wants us to do and it terrifies us.
Here’s what else is amazing to me when I think about Mary’s story, God, STILL used her even with her fear and questions. He didn’t say “Well, I thought you were the one to carry out this task, but since you seem to be scared, even though you are willing….never mind.” NO! He used her even though she had questions, and was scared, BECAUSE she WAS willing. I wholeheartedly believe you can do what God asks you to do and still be petrified. That’s being human. That’s trusting in HIS power and not your own and just taking that leap and doing whatever He has asked you to do. That’s the ultimate example of willingness.
I don’t doubt for one minute that Mary wasn’t worried when she told Joseph and her family what happened. I’m certain she feared rejection and possibly death, but she was WILLING, and in the end, on that Holy Night, she was the reason that the angels sang Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.